How the Toondah Harbour Tracking Project works

By September 19, 2017 October 11th, 2017 Archive

The Toondah Harbour tracking data results from two separate processes.

One process involves the koala location and other data being collected from a transmitter attached to a collar (called the LX collar) fitted to a tracked koala.  The LX collar was specifically designed for use on koalas and more detail on this type of collar is available on this website

The LX transmitter channel is unique to each koala and can provide a range of information, but for KAG’s purposes the main data is a GPS location and the koala’s activity rate.  This data is typically uploaded twice daily from the collar via a UHF signal to a nearby base station.  The base station then passes the data (through a type of mobile phone setup) to a website designed specifically for this project.  The mapping is produced within the website by overlaying the GPS data on Google Earth.  The mapping can show current (at upload time) locations of tracked koalas, their previous locations over a period up to one year, in either singular tracked koala or multiple tracked koalas format.  Another map type available provides a hot spot effect showing the area where a koala was most active, effectively indicating that koala’s home range.

It is important to note is that this process, including the mapping produced from it, is completely independent of KAG or other persons’ actions.  It is purely an automatic process from the koala’s transmitter  to the website.

The second process involves a second transmitter fitted to the same LX collar, and in some cases a small anklet transmitter as well.  These transmitters operate in the VHF range and are detected using a hand held directional antenna.

Again each transmitter operates on a different frequency and the koala’s location is found using a searching pattern looking for the point of maximum signal.

When the koala is located, details of that location (which will be different to the LX location if the koala has moved since upload) are recorded, along with an observation of the koala, the tree type and measurements, the ambient details, the area type and any other relevant data including other koalas in the vicinity.

The data from the manual process is typically collected weekly or more frequently if required, for example if an upload from the first process is not received or requires further investigation.  This second process data is independent of the data collected by the map producing LX data.