Software helps traditional tracking practices move into the future!

Thanks, WR, Intro to GIS

Cyber Tracker is downloadable software that can be used on a smart phone or any handheld computer device to record a variety of observations, everything from infected gorillas in the Congo to alleged criminals in the Table Mountain National Park in South Africa. The Cyber Tracker was created by the South African non-profit group, Cyber Tracker Conservation. The software was originally developed to aid semi-literate to illiterate traditional animal trackers in southern Africa. It allows conservationists to record their observations in the field on handheld computers linked to global positioning system, or GPS. The program’s visual components allow non-experts to accurately map any animal’s movements and display using icons and/or text. The software also includes a simple interface for viewing data in tables and charts.

Originally developed in 1996 by CyberTracker Conservation founder Louis Liebenberg and computer scientist Lindsay Steventon, the software continues to improve and is currently running its third edition. The idea for CyberTracker was born while Liebenberg was hunting with the indigenous Bushmen tracker in the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa. Liebenberg has been fascinated with tracking since childhood and hopes the CyberTracker will be able to retain much of this traditional knowledge that often times cannot be stored on other, more text based, tracking systems.

It has been used in tracking the spatial distribution of disease for gorillas in the Congo, to plot the migratory patterns of birds in the Kalahari, and is currently being developed for more extensive conservation use in the United States.

For further information, see the article in Wired.

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