Remote Environmental Monitoring

Wetland MonitoringGroundtruth has developed a system to monitor wildlife, pests, and other conservation and environmental data in remote areas. 

The monitoring stations are solar powered and can be equipped with a range of sensors. They use cell-phone networks and/or long range radio links to transmit data from remote areas. They can be configured to transmit in real time (e.g. live audio or video streams), or to record and upload data at specified periods. The data can be viewed (and optionally downloaded) from your desktop through a web based interface.

We currently have stations operating in areas of regenerating bush in the Manawatu, in wetland areas around Lake Wairarapa and Wellington East Harbour, and on Kapiti Island.   

One application for the remote systems is to gather information on bird species using audio sampling. The stations are equipped with sensitive microphones and record at specified intervals. When a recording is received, a spectrogram (a visual representation of the audio signal) is generated to aid in identifying the species recorded. The web interface allows any interested party to log in and immediately view and listen to recordings from the stations they have access to. Each recording can be tagged with one or more species names and this information is used to gauge the presence and relative abundance of species in the area.  

Sample spectrogram of morning chorus from Kapiti Island
Audio Spectrogram

Remote monitoring is a very effective and cost efficient method of measuring and monitoring wildlife and also provides a way to engage with the wider community – anyone with an internet connection can become involved by, for example, helping identify birds in inaccessible areas.