Performance of GPS/GPRS tracking devices improves with increased fix interval and is not affected by animal deployment

Acácio, Marta, Atkinson, Philip W., Silva, João Paulo and Franco, Aldina M. A. ORCID: (2022) Performance of GPS/GPRS tracking devices improves with increased fix interval and is not affected by animal deployment. PLoS One, 17 (3). ISSN 1932-6203

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The use of GPS tracking technologies has revolutionized the study of animal movement providing unprecedentedly detailed information. The characterization of GPS accuracy and precision under different conditions is essential to correctly identify the spatial and temporal resolution at which studies can be conducted. Here, we examined the influence of fix acquisition interval and device deployment on the performance of a new GPS/GSM solar powered device. Horizontal and vertical accuracy and precision of locations were obtained under different GPS fix acquisition intervals (1min, 20 min and 60 min) in a stationary test. The test devices were deployed on pre-fledgling white storks (Ciconia ciconia) and we quantified accuracy and precision after deployment while controlling for bias caused by variation in habitat, topography, and animal movement. We also assessed the performance of GPS-Error, a metric provided by the device, at identifying inaccurate locations (> 10 m). Average horizontal accuracy varied between 3.4 to 6.5 m, and vertical accuracy varied between 4.9 to 9.7 m, in high (1 min) and low frequency (60 min) GPS fix intervals. These values were similar after the deployment on white storks. Over 84% of GPS horizontal positions and 71% of vertical positions had less than 10m error in accuracy. Removing 3% of data with highest GPS-Error eliminated over 99% of inaccurate positions in high GPS frequency intervals, but this metric was not effective in the low frequency intervals. We confirmed the suitability of these devices for studies requiring horizontal and vertical accuracies of 5-10m. For higher accuracy data, intensive GPS fix intervals should be used, but this requires more sophisticated battery management, or larger batteries and devices.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This research was funded by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), via the NEXUSS CDT Training in the Smart and Autonomous Observation of the Environment (NE/N012070/1). Funding for this project was also provided by NERC via the EnvEast DTP (NE/K006312/1), Norwich Research Park.
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Biology
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2022 10:30
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2024 21:31
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265541

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