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Wildlife@Home: Combining Crowd Sourcing and Volunteer Computing to Analyze Avian Nesting Video

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6 Author(s)

New camera technology is allowing avian ecologists to perform detailed studies of avian behavior, nesting strategies and predation in areas where it was previously impossible to gather data. Unfortunately, studies have shown mechanical triggers and a variety of sensors to be inadequate in capturing footage of small predators (e.g., snakes, rodents) or events in dense vegetation. Because of this, continuous camera recording is currently the most robust solution for avian monitoring, especially in ground nesting species. However, continuous video footage results in a data deluge, as monitoring enough nests to make biologically significant inferences results in massive amounts of data which is unclassifiable by humans alone. In the summer of 2012, Dr. Ellis-Felege gathered video footage from 63 sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) nests, as well as preliminary interior least tern (Sternula antillarum) and piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nests, resulting in over 20,000 hours of video footage. In order to effectively analyze this video, a project combining both crowd sourcing and volunteer computing was developed, where volunteers can stream nesting video and report their observations, as well as have their computers download video for analysis by computer vision techniques. This provides a robust way to analyze the video, as user observations are validated by multiple views as well as the results of the computer vision techniques. This work provides initial results analyzing the effectiveness of the crowd sourced observations and computer vision techniques.

Published in:

eScience (eScience), 2013 IEEE 9th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

22-25 Oct. 2013