The widespread availability of relatively cheap, reliable and easy to use digital camera traps has led to their extensive use for wildlife research, monitoring and public outreach. Users of these units are, however, often frustrated by the limited options for controlling camera functions, the generation of large numbers of images, and the lack of flexibility to suit different research environments and questions. We describe the development of a user-customisable open source camera trap platform named ‘WiseEye’, designed to provide flexible camera trap technology for wildlife researchers. The novel platform is based on a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and compatible peripherals that allow the user to control its functions and performance. We introduce the concept of confirmatory sensing, in which the Passive Infrared triggering is confirmed through other modalities (i.e. radar, pixel change) to reduce the occurrence of false positives images. This concept, together with user-definable metadata, aided identification of spurious images and greatly reduced post-collection processing time. When tested against a commercial camera trap, WiseEye was found to reduce the incidence of false positive images and false negatives across a range of test conditions. WiseEye represents a step-change in camera trap functionality, greatly increasing the value of this technology for wildlife research and conservation management.
Bibliographical noteFunding: The work was supported by the RCUK Digital Economy programme to the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub; award reference: EP/G066051/1. The work of S. Newey and RJI was part funded by the Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS).
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