Open Source Animal Tracking Device for Cattle
By Jens Harbers
Grazing plays a central role in nature conservation, for example, grazing animals preserve biodiversity in the stand and the animals' droppings provide a habitat for insects. The development of animal-guided grazing requires geodata enriched with additional information to perform scientifically sound spatiotemporal evaluations. Existing animal trackers either cost 5000€ per device, as with the well-known GPS Collar PLUS, and are also protected by patents, so open research with easy expandability of sensors is not possible. In addition, most devices do not provide real-time information because there is no wireless transmission built in. My approach is therefore to build an open hardware solution using an LGT-92 device as the basis. Since the blueprints are openly available, the device can be easily reverse engineered. This will be placed in a housing that will be mounted on a collar. It can also be attached to existing collars to allow direct on farm research. The cost is around 60€ without VAT and without LoRaWAN router. The amount of data for up to 100 transmitters can be handled with a Raspberry Pi 3. For better camouflage, the housing can be created from the 3D printer, which allows camouflage pattern by matching colors.
Attachment: cowcam.pdf (436 KB)