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Mappt User Story: Protecting African wild cat species in Zambia

Panther's staff use Mappt on a daily basis

Panthera’s staff use Mappt on a daily basis

Dr Jake Overton is with Panthera, an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) devoted to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their habitats.

The large cat species of Africa (Cheetah, Lion, Leopard, African Golden Cat, Caracal, and Serval) are under constant threat from poaching, illegal game trapping and habitat loss.  Big cat protection must be undertaken in a dynamic environment – the cats are constantly moving while illegal hunters never seem to take a rest.

Protecting large cats in Africa involves managing highly mobile animals over large areas.  Maintaining spatial awareness through mobile GIS systems is what makes Jake’s job more effective and ultimately improves big cat conservation outcomes.

“We use GIS for so many things – from ecological analyses to field planning.”

-Dr Jake Overton, Panthera

However, there were technical boundaries to utilising this GIS information in daily activities.  Panthera went searching for an interactive utility combining GIS and GPS in a portable device.  They found their solution in Mappt.  Prior to using Mappt, Panthera’s field crew had taken laptop-based GIS applications in the field – but crucially they weren’t linked to live positional information.

Panthera field staff now use Mappt on a daily basis for collaring and survey work.  Jake relies heavily on real time positioning available in Mappt for help in navigating remote areas without existing maps.  Another feature Jake has found especially helpful is the ability to load aerial images and cache Google Maps images for use offline in remote areas.

The view from Panthera's front office. Sioma National Park, Zambia

The view from Panthera’s front office. Sioma National Park, Zambia

Having the ‘big picture’ available, in terms of geospatial information, is essential for protecting big cats and their ecosystems.  Panthera’s objective is to protect wild cat species and the the environment that supports them.  Beyond traditional ‘protect and preserve’ practices, Panthera aims to provide thriving ecosystems to help wild cats again reach sustainability levels.

Mappt Mobile GIS is used to assist animal collaring in Sioma NP, Zambia

Mappt Mobile GIS is used to assist animal collaring in Sioma NP, Zambia

by Darren Smith

Mappt has a been game-changer for many organisations who rely on accurate geospatial information to improve efficiency and accuracy.

Try Mappt today by downloading it from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store

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How Smart Technology is Saving Species

Habitat loss, global climate change, poaching and human disruptions have all caused enormous devastation to wildlife biodiversity all over the world.

How can we reverse the damage humans have done? Or prevent future harm to endangered species?

Progressions in technologies, created only in recent times, has redefined our knowledge of how animals live.

By understanding the geographical habits of an animal, we can make more informed decisions that will revolutionise conservation.

satellite technology for wildlifeSmart Maps

In almost real-time, using remote sensors, satellite imagery and GPS tracking, wildlife conservationists now have the ability to follow enigmatic creatures that was once considered impossible.

With the breakthrough in satellite technology and the growing number of satellites, both public and private in nature, allow conservationists to gain an unparalleled perspective on what’s happening around the globe.

Imagery can reveal information about climactic conditions and vegetation type, which can aid in predicting animal movements. Dense colonies like emperor penguins in the Antarctic, can also be tracked and mapped with satellites.

By revealing the world in extraordinary detail and by allowing more people in more places to access this data and technology, we are slowly safeguarding our wildlife.

cheetah smart collarSmart Collars

We’re not just talking about GPS tracking, ‘Smart’ collars collect almost the same amount of data that our wearable fitness bracelets do.

This technology allows wildlife managers to remotely monitor an animal’s movement patterns, when they’re sleeping or how they’re hunting. These collars can tell you practically anything about an animal’s activities.

Researchers anticipate that by visualising and knowing exactly what a species does in a day, they can further understand them, potentially predict behaviour and in turn reduce human conflict.

smart phone mapping wildlifeSmart Phones

Now that we’ve got smart collars and smart maps, what would happen if we were to integrate this collected data into our smart phones?

Mobile technologies have been introduced to make viewing, collecting and sharing data when out in the field to be seamless, efficient and integrated.

Mobile mapping and GIS app, Mappt, is an example of a downloadable phone app that allows users to view satellite imagery or animal movement patterns or GPS tracking, layer by layer.

Mappt allows users to collect new data and add to the mapping visualisation tool. Users can add geotagged photos and create geofences to prevent people out in the field from entering exclusion zones.

This app can be assimilated into any GIS software, importing and exporting any kind of data to your desktop computer. Mappt has been used to map and track cheetah populations in Iran.

Saving The World

Digital location based technology is changing wildlife conservation in more and more profound ways.

Geographical information and the ability to view data anywhere and anytime is a valuable tool for conservationists and wildlife ecologists saving the animals, one location at a time.

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