The Feasibility of Utilizing the Cellular Infrastructure for Urban Wildlife Telemetry

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Virginia Tech

Human populations inhabiting urban landscapes have increased from 224 million in 1900 to 2.9 billion in 1999. The wildlife biology profession utilizes telemetry derived location information for ecological and management studies that involve movement, behavior, habitat use, survival, productivity, and others. World-wide there were more than 1.2 billion cellular telephone users in 2003. A cellular phone based telemetry system is a feasible technology to assist wildlife biologists and researchers overcome the obstacles and requirements for conducting research in urbanized landscapes. A study was performed to assess functional and economic feasibility of developing a cellular-based telemetry system for urban wildlife use. A review of current literature that used traditional wildlife telemetry technologies resulted in the focus of four areas: the study of urban wildlife; traditional telemetry technologies; radio tag weights, frequency use, power, and cost of traditional telemetry technologies; and performance of traditional technologies in urban and non-urban landscapes. Geolocation by wireless communications systems is a relatively new market in the United States, and thus requirements and standards are still developing. Due to constraints outlined in this paper, at this time, the most feasible and promising approach to utilizing the cellular infrastructure for geolocation of urban wildlife is by establishing an ad hoc system for data transferal and accomplishing geolocation by ultra-wide band (UWB) technology.

Urban Wildlife, Telemetry, Cellular Communications, Biotelemetry, Telemetry Feasibility Study, Urban