Low-Cost SMS Driven Location Tracking System for Anti-Poaching Investigations
Throughout the world, poaching has been an ever-present threat to a vast array of species for over many decades. Traditional anti-poaching initiatives target on catching the poachers. However, the challenge is far more complicated than catching individual poachers. Poaching is an industry which needs to be fully investigated. There are many stakeholders, directly and indirectly, involved in poaching activities (e.g., some local restaurants illegally providing meat to tourists). Therefore, to stop or severely decapitate the poaching industry requires a unified understanding of all stakeholders. The best ways to uncover these geographical and social relationships is to track the movements of poachers. However, location tracking is challenging in most of the rural areas where wildlife sanctuaries are typically located in. Internet-connected communication (e.g. 3G) technologies typically used in urban cities are not feasible in these rural areas. Therefore, we decided to develop an SMS (short message service) base low-cost tracking system (SMS-TRACCAR) to track poachers. We evaluated the proposed system in Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah, Malaysia and nearby villages and cities where poachers are typically moving around. Our evaluations demonstrated that SMS based tracking could provide sufficiently quality (granular) data (with minimum energy consumption) that enable us to monitor poacher vehicle movements within rural areas where no other modern communication technologies are feasible to use. However, it important to note that our system can be used any domain that requires SMS based geo-location tracking. SMS-TRACCAR can be configured to track individuals as well as groups. Therefore, SMS-TRACCAR make contributions not only to wildlife domain, but in wider context as well.
Contribution: The main aim of this project was to create a low-cost system that uses cheaper consumer grade location trackers and allows the user to track the location of vehicles using a modified open-source GPS software without requiring internet access. Further, the devices must be able to track vehicles over a sufficient period of time, for example a minimum of two to three days. The system should also be easy to use and require minimal configuration from the user to work and operate. We proposed SMS-TRACCAR to address these requirements.
However, it important to note that our system can be used any domain that requires SMS based geo-location tracking. SMS-TRACCAR can be configured to track individuals as well as groups. For example, our solution can be re-utilised to track bicycles in smart city or joggers in the city without any changes (as groups of individuals). Therefore, SMS-TRACCAR make contribution not only to wildlife domain, but in wider context as well.