Rangers who keep track of their animals with the help of GPS; a cluster of vultures as a clear indication of a carcass: Animal movement data can be used in a variety of ways. Analyzing these data has become particularly important in the field of wildlife behavioural research and associated conservation efforts, since inexpensive and sophisticated animal transmitters make it easy to collect "Big Data." For the evaluation of the enormous amounts of data generated, the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior (MPI-AB) and the Communication, Information and Media Centre (KIM) of the University of Konstanz jointly developed the MoveApps platform, which has now won the 2022 Conservation Tech Award. This award recognizes conservation initiatives that help to safeguard wildlife and their habitats through the advancement of technology. The other 2022 grant was awarded to Club Arribada, a free after-school conservation technology programme.
MoveApps: Data analysis without programming skills
Since February 2021, the free, open-source MoveApps platform, currently in beta testing, provides an initial set of tools to analyze and visualize complex data sets that previously could only be processed by data analysts. The use of the platform does not require any programming skills and is for free. As in a modular system, MoveApps users have access to various analytical modules – the Apps – which can be selected as needed with just a few clicks. The platform is meant to become more and more a community effort. So, if a required tool is not yet available on the platform, any coder can develop Apps for projects, submit them to MoveApps and ultimately make it available to everyone on the platform.
Bringing together code developers and data collectors in the interactive open-source platform will further increase the possibilities for using biology data, Andrea Kölzsch, MoveApps project manager and postdoc at the MPI-AB, explained in the MPI-AB press release. Especially in the field of wildlife conservation, more use cases will be developed to support experts in their work. The Conservation Tech Award emphasizes the impact that MoveApps can have for conservation intervention around the world.
About the Conservation Tech Award
The award in the amount of $15,000 dollars is granted by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2)’s EarthRanger programme to organizations that deploy or develop technology to make a positive impact in conservation management, including but not limited to, the security of endangered animals and human-wildlife coexistence. Out of more than 125 applications, MoveApps and Club Arribada were selected as the 2022 winners.