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This thesis presents a novel platform for tracking migratory birds on a continental scale. Cellular technology is used to augment the short-range radios that have traditionally been used in wireless sensor networks. The platform utilizes multiple sensors, including a GPS and solid state compass. By using these sensors, the platform is capable of not only tracking a bird’s migration path, but also provides information on a bird’s behavior during its life-cycle. Testing methodology utilizing simulations and aspect-oriented programming is used to reveal faults in the platform prior to deployment on wild animals. In collaboration with the International Crane Foundation, and the Crane Trust, the platform is evaluated on multiple species of birds (Wild Turkeys, Siberian Cranes, Sandhill Cranes), over 6 months, to evaluate its effectiveness. These deployments reveal that the system is capable of not only tracking birds, but monitoring their behavior. By utilizing cellular technology, the system is capable of delivering information about a bird within 24 hours, which is much faster than current systems used to track Whooping Cranes.
Advisers: Mehmet C. Vuran and Matthew B. Dwyer