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Long Term Tracking

Long-term and large-scale tracking has a broad range of applications’ that include; livestock tracking, wildlife tracking and management of disease risks. Wireless sensor network technology has enabled us to track location and activity of animals at a high spatio-temporal resolution.  Domain Scientists  have been using radio-frequency tags for animal location tracking for decades. However, downloading data from the tags is either labour intensive or expensive. The process of downloading data from animals can be automated by deploying a fixed network of wireless receiver stations, base nodes or gateways. These nodes and gateways download and forward data from nearby animals to a central server. Many animals exhibit nomadic behaviour and can roam vast areas where sparse distribution of gateway nodes results in rare opportunities for wireless communication. Animal tag technology needs to use local data buffering and delay-tolerant network algorithms to be able to collect meaningful datasets.

A key motivating application for this research has been continental scale tracking of flying foxes, as part of the national flying fox monitoring program. Given that the animals are highly mobile, the research challenge is around delay-tolerant and near-perpetual operation, using solar panels to replenish energy at each node. Within the program, we deployed base stations across the continent covering an area with a perimeter of 10,000 km (see map below). The animals tend to return regularly to these locations, where we can offload data that is collected while they’re away.

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The main research challenge for this project was to maximise information quality of tracked trajectories subject to fixed energy budgets determined by how much energy each solar panel harvests. We proposed an energy- and mobility- aware tracking framework that projects likely movements for each animal in-situ and adapts the acceptable tracking error to maximise trajectory quality subject to energy constraints. This work is the core of a patent and our recent paper at EWSN that won the best paper award. The video below shows a sample trajectory from one of the tracked flying foxes over the city of Adelaide in South Australia, with 1Hz GPS tracking for all the periods when movement is detected through accelerometers on the Camazotz tracking devices



The same tracking technology was used to track ibis in Sydney botanic gardens, deer in India, and many other species across Australia.

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Related Publications

  • L. Salt, R. Jurdak, B. Kusy, “Hybrid Ensemble Learning for Triggering of GPS in Long-Term Tracking Applications,” International Journal of Hybrid Intelligent Systems, January 2016. (in press)
  • V. Kumar, N. Bergmann, R. Jurdak, B. Kusy, “Cluster-based Position Tracking of Mobile Sensors,” In proceedings of The IEEE Conference on Wireless Sensors (ICWiSe), Langkawi, Malaysia, October, 2016.
  • P. Sommer, J. Liu, K. Zhao, B. Kusy, R. Jurdak, “Information Bang for the Energy Buck: Energy- and Mobility-Aware Tracking,” In proceedings of The International Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks (EWSN), Graz, Austria, February, 2016.Winner of Best Paper Award
  • L. Salt, B. Kusy, R. Jurdak, “Adaptive Threshold Triggering of GPS for Long-term Tracking in WSN,” In proceedings of the 7th IEEE International Conference on Soft Computing and Pattern Recognition (SoCPaR), Fukuoka, Japan, November, 2015.
  • M. Kaviani, B. Kusy, R. Jurdak, N. Bergmann, K. Zhao, V. Liu, “Delay Tolerant Routing Protocols for Energy-Neutral Animal Tracking,” In proceedings of The 3rd International Workshop on Energy Harvesting and Energy-Neutral Sensing Systems (ENSsys), co-located with ACM Sensys, Seoul, South Korea, November, 2015.
  • A. El Shoughry, B. Kusy, R. Jurdak, N. Bergmann, “Augur: A Delay Aware Forwarding Protocol for Delay-tolerant Networks,” In proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Wireless and Mobile Computing, Networking and Communications (WiMob), Abu Dhabi, UAE, October, 2015.
  • P. Sommer, B. Kusy, R. Jurdak, N. Kottege, J. Liu, K. Zhao, A. McKeown, D. Westcott, “From the Lab into the Wild: Design and Deployment Methods for Multi-Modal Tracking Platforms,” Published online at Pervasive and Mobile Computing , September, 2015.
  • P. Sommer, B. Kusy, P. Valencia, R. Dungavell, R. Jurdak, “Delay-tolerant networking for long-term animal tracking,” arxiv: 1506.01792, 2015.
  • R. Jurdak, A. Elfes, B. Kusy, A. Tews, W. Hu, E. Hernandez, N. Kottege, P. Sikka, ”Autonomous Surveillance for Biosecurity”, Trends in Biotechnology, published online March 3, 2015 doi:10.1016/j.tibtech.2015.01.003
  • K. Zhao, R. Jurdak, J. Liu, D. Westcott, B. Kusy, H. Parry, P. Sommer, A. McKeown, ”Optimal Lévy-flight foraging in a finite landscape”, Journal of the Royal Society Interface 12, 20141158 January 2015.
  • Liu, K. Zhao, P. Sommer, S. Shang, B. Kusy, & R. Jurdak  Bounded Quadrant System: Error-bounded Trajectory Compression on the Go,” To appear in proceedings of the 31st IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE), Seoul, Korea, April, 2015.
  • R. Jurdak, “Long-term tracking in Batmon: Lessons and Open Challenges,” Keynote Speech Abstract, in proceedings of the second Machine Learning for Sensory Data Analysis (MLSDA) Workshop, Gold Coast, Australia, December 2014.
  • G. Murtaza, S. Kanhere, A. Ignjatovic, R. Jurdak, and S. Jha, “Trajectory Approximation for Resource Constrained Mobile Sensor Networks,” In proceedings of the 9th IEEE Conference on Distributed Computing in Sensor Systems (DCOSS), Marina Del Rey, CA, USA, May, 2014.
  •  K. Li, B. Kusy, R. Jurdak, A. Ignjatovic, S. Kanhere, S. Jha, “κ-FSOM: Fair Link Scheduling Optimization for Energy-Aware Data Collection in Mobile Sensor Networks,” In Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Wireless Sensor Networks (EWSN), Oxford, UK, February 2014.
  • H. Parry, D. Westcott, A. McKeown, K. Zhao, Philipp Sommer, R. Jurdak, and B. Kusy, “Empirical agent-based simulation of movement: the integration of high frequency Flying-fox tracking data with a simulation model of population dynamics in time and space,” In MODSIM2013, 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, December 2013, pp. 2506–2512. ISBN: 978-0-9872143-3-1.
  • P. Sommer, B. Kusy, and R. Jurdak, “The Big Night Out: Experiences from Tracking Flying Foxes with Delay Tolerant Wireless Networking,” To appear in proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on Real-World Wireless Sensor Networks (RealWSN), Como Lake, Italy, September 2013.
  • R. Jurdak, P. Corke, A. Cotillon, D. Dharman, C. Crossman, and G. Salagnac, “Energy-efficient Localisation: GPS Duty Cycling with Radio Ranging,” ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks, Vol. 9, Iss. 2, May 2013.
  • R. Jurdak, B. Kusy, P. Sommer, N. Kottege, C. Crossman, A. McKeown, D. Westcott, “Camazotz: Multimodal Activity-based GPS Sampling,” In proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN), Philadelphia, USA, April, 2013.
  • R. Jurdak, B. Kusy, and A. Cotillon, “Group-based Motion Detection for Energy-efficient Localization,” Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks. 1(3):183-216, October 2012. (Invited paper)