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This community is dedicated to all those frustrated animal movement ecologists that, after obtaining animal tracking data from animal-borne GPS or VHF devices thought that they could start immediately doing fun analyses to find some revolutionary ecological theory. Yes, we’ve been there too…! But we now know that this is just the start of a long, tedious, and technical process to prepare and integrate GPS data with environmental data, which keeps us occupied for long time before being finally able to start focusing on ecology. 


PosTRACK is a web-community to share and further develop a Spatial-database for Animal Movement, SAM, and the functions needed to automatize all those technical routines from the pre-processing of tracking data, to their coupling with environmental layers, to the calculation of trajectory parameters, home ranges, spatial statistics, and to the intersection of locations, trajectories and polygons with environmental features

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SAM overview
SAM overview

SAM is specifically designed for researchers working on the relationship between animal movement data and environmental data, and it integrates both data types in a state-of the art, unique platform where data management and analysis are brought closer together.


SAM is a template for a spatial relational database for advanced management and preliminary analysis of wildlife tracking data, based on the open-source software PostgreSQL and PostGIS. It uses the strengths of spatial databases together with a specifically developed library of functions to speed up time-consuming operations for an advanced pre-processing of animal tracking data, for their integration with environmental data, and for the preparation of the data to be used for space use analyses. In addition to animal tracking data, SAM may allow for the integration of data from other sources, e.g. activity sensors. SAM is cross- platform, and designed to be flexible and accessible from different software clients, e.g. pgAdmin, R, Q-Gis, ArcGis, Access, and Excel.


A bit of history

The first initiative of this kind for terrestrial systems was ISAMUD (Integrated System for Analysis and Management of Ungulate Data), described by Cagnacci & Urbano (2008). This platform has been further developed within the Eurodeer project, which used it to promote collaboration among roe deer researchers across Europe. In collaboration with the developers, the Wild Mountain Reindeer Project within the Norwegian Institute for Nature research (NINA), further extended and optimized this platform into Reindeer-SAM. SAM is still very young, as its first version was produced in spring 2012.  We decided to send a template of SAM into the world to do good and to gain maturity … through the PosTRACK community. We hope that you can benefit from this experience and want to share your expertise within the community.


WHAT CAN YOU GET (in the near future)

  • SAM, an empty template for a Spatial database for Animal Movement, not specific for any institution nor project
  • SAM instruction manual
  • Functions to replicate all the operations described above
  • Demonstration data 
  • The possibility to take part in a community to exchange and develop tools and functions
  • .......
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