Arboreal Monitoring Platform for Amazon rainforest
A couple of months ago we were approached by Alasdair Davies, a founder of the Arribada Initiative, with whom we are already collaborating on the development of endangered sea turtle monitoring tags. As open hardware development and manufacturing experts we were invited to develop an Arboreal Monitoring Platform (AMP), which is now already running on an extremely important location of our planet, the Amazon rainforest in Peru.
To establish an effective wireless network in dense forested environments it’s necessary to escape the wet leaves and foliage below the canopy. Field conservationists often attempt to deploy wireless equipment with an expectation that radio waves will penetrate thick buttress roots and tangled vines, yet in reality long-range sensor networks struggle to achieve more than a few hundred metres if placed at ground level.
Specifically, attempts to establish wireless networks within forested environments to transmit photographic data from remote camera traps have required a series of dedicated masts to be established - an expensive and technically challenging process, and so a new approach is required.
By identifying pioneer tree species that have grown above the canopy’s average height it’s possible to link individual trees together using line-of-sight radio hubs. Each hub stores and forwards data received from cameras placed in the canopy to a central location. In this manner, camera traps can be connected using wireless antennas to relay photographs and short videos captured in the tree tops for transmission to the internet in real time for short durations each day.
Copyright: CREES Foundation
Pioneering arboreal wireless networks
We worked in close collaboration with the Arribada Initiative to devise a suitable solution for AMP, us being in charge of hardware for this platform.
Copyright: Arribada Initiative
By utilising existing open and off-the-shelf components - from Voltaic systems solar panels and Nanuk suitcases to PiRA IoT Battery Pack and Raspberry Pi computers - we designed and deployed an affordable network with 8 cameras connected to a base station with satellite back-haul on-site. More information on hardware design is available in AMP repository on Github.
The network and infrastructure has been designed with sufficient physical space and connectivity for future sensors / devices / modifications to be made, establishing a testing ground for Arribada conservation technology into the future and beyond. Therefore, we are sharing Arribada Initiative’s appeal to all the technology suppliers - get in contact with them to find out more about all the opportunities to showcase the performance of your products in this leading conservation project. We are looking forward to all the new collaborators joining in!
You can follow Alasdair and his amazing conservation initiatives on Twitter and stay tuned to find out about the results of the Peru AAMP deployment.
Copyright: Arribada Initiative
About the organizations involved in AMP:
The Foundation is a Peruvian based not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting a sustainable Amazon through better understanding of the value of the rainforest and helping local people to access its resources in ways that are both profitable, and able to preserve the forest for the future.
The Society’s mission is to promote and achieve worldwide conservation for animals and their habitats. ZSL runs conservation programmes in Britain and over 50 countries worldwide; the conservation of wild animals and their natural habitats is fundamental to their mission. They also work with local communities to conserve their environment and promote sustainability.
Designs and develops services and conservation technologies utilizing open hardware, software, licences and practices. The initiative’s objective is to break down the barriers that inhibit access to conservation technologies, delivering better, cheaper, reliable solutions to help the global conservation community monitor and protect species and the environment.
Our custom manufacturing service company that provides custom manufactured parts and assemblies, technology development, production and sale of a variety of application systems and solutions that are developed by open source principles.