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OzTrack Project Overview

OzTrack

eResearch tools for the storage, analysis and visualization of animal tracking data

The OzTrack project is a cross-disciplinary project being led by the UQ ITEE eResearch Group in collaboration with the UQ School of Biological Sciences ECO-Lab.

Funding
NeCTAR (National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources) via the eResearch Tools program. Contract negotiations completed and signed on 5 June 2012.
Period
June 2012 - Dec 2013

Significance

Despite the increasingly widespread adoption of animal tagging devices, there are significant challenges associated with the management and analysis of the datasets being generated. The sheer scale and complexity of the data sets make it difficult for many research groups to exploit the full potential of the data. The processing of telemetry data currently relies on a diversity of software and file formats. Data capture, data management and data analyses steps currently involve manual and time-consuming data manipulation and import/export to different software products. The integration of animal movement data with complementary environmental information (e.g., remote sensing data) presents additional technical and computing challenges.

To date the vast majority of data from animal tracking studies undertaken throughout Australia is stored in small personal databases and inaccessible to the broader scientific community. Collation of these studies within a central repository would greatly increase data transparency, reduce study reproduction and enable comparisons of results between study groups. The Oztrack project aims to accelerate scientific research in this field by creating a common approach to the management and analysis of these large and diverse datasets for modeling animal behaviour and ecology.

Objectives

The goal of this project is to develop a set of eResearch software tools to support the compute, storage and analysis of animal tracking data being generated through telemetry devices. More specific aims are to:

  • establish a species tracking data repository that can be scaled up to support the Australian species tracking community;
  • solve the complex problem of projecting geo-coordinates collected from animals over a wide geographical area for routine analysis;
  • link the underlying database, analysis (R) services and visualisation (map layers) components through an intuitive but flexible, interactive and secure Web interface;
  • provide a suite of state-of-the-art Web-based software tools to enable search, browse, visualization, analysis, and animation of the species movements over time and space;
  • enable fast, effective and accurate management and analysis of extremely large volumes of data derived from tracking devices;
  • support secure authenticated sharing of analysed tracking data within and between research teams, government departments and industry (through the adoption of AAF);
  • enable the development of models that can predict spatio-temporal movement of particular species under different potential scenarios;
  • share RIF-CS research data collection descriptions of animal movement via the ANDS Research Data Australia (RDA).


NeCTAR Logo The University of Queensland is proud to be in partnership with the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) project to create a unique opportunity to develop OzTrack eResearch Tools for the storage, analysis and visualization of animal tracking data. This project will benefit the Australian research community by providing a platform to underpin the next generation of research into marine, avian, terrestrial and agricultural animal behaviours.