Drones, Go-Pros, and iPhones—Oh my! Our Most Recent Collaboration with Cleveland MetroParks Zoo Expands its Drone Imagery Across Three Orangutan Exhibits
At SEZARC, we have been leveraging ZooMonitor to assist our members in collecting behavioral and location-based data on terrestrial and aquatic animals. Although ZooMonitor was originally designed to inform us how and where an animal is interacting with its habitat at the ground level, SEZARC has developed a method for ZooMonitor to quantify how high or low an animal is within the habitat too! Arboreal and aquatic animals such as birds, sea turtles, and orangutans can soar, swim, and climb through their habitats, therefore, we want to help visualize that action for animal caregivers. That capability led us to think: if we can collect location data in three-dimensional space, how can we image their habitats in three dimensions?
The answer: with drones, Go-Pros, and iPhones! Through our recent partnership with Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, we are soaring drones and walking with Go-Pros and iPhones along three orangutan habitats to create three-dimensional representations through a technique called photogrammetry.
Geographic information system (GIS) technology has been used to survey and image landscapes and ocean floors, and SEZARC is on the frontlines of applying GIS for zoos and aquariums. By replicating the methods at three separate facilities, including Birmingham Zoo, Zoo Miami, and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, we hope to fine-tune the data collection process and share it with the world.