Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



2012 ACM/IEEE 11th International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN) Pages 329 - 340.


Copyright 2012 IEEE.


This paper presents CraneTracker, a novel sensor platform for monitoring migratory birds. The platform is designed to monitor Whooping Cranes, an endangered species that conducts an annual migration of 4, 000 km between southern Texas and north-central Canada. CraneTracker includes a rich set of sensors, a multi-modal radio, and power control circuitry for sustainable, continental-scale information delivery during migration. The need for large-scale connectivity motivates the use of cellular technology in low-cost sensor platforms augmented by a low-power transceiver for ad-hoc connectivity. This platform leads to a new class of cellular sensor networks (CSNs) for time-critical and mobile sensing applications. The CraneTracker is evaluated via field tests on Wild Turkeys, Siberian Cranes, and an on-going alpha deployment with wild Sandhill Cranes. Experimental evaluations demonstrate the potential of energy-harvesting CSNs for wildlife monitoring in large geographical areas, and reveal important insights into the movements and behaviors of migratory animals. In addition to benefiting ecological research, the developed platform is expected to extend the application domain of sensor networks and enable future research applications.