Johnson, C.J., Heard, D.C. & Parker, K.L. 2002: Expectations and realities of GPS animal location collars: results of three years in the field. - Wildl. Biol. 8: 153-159.
GPS collars have the potential to automatically collect large numbers of relatively accurate animal relocations. Collar costs, levels of accuracy, and satellite signal reception have been reported by other studies, but there has been little discussion of long-term performance under field conditions. Between March 1996 and April 1999, we placed 11 GPS collars on 23 individual woodland caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou for a total of 26 collar deployments. Reliability was highly variable; some collar deployments operated normally for their expected period of time, other deployments functioned for less than half of their expected lives. Collars attempted 41,822 locations and collected 15,247 3-D and 10,411 2-D locations, for an average acquisition rate of 59%. We recommend that researchers carefully consider project objectives, budget constraints, and available options such as differential correction and remote collar communication, before purchasing GPS collars.
Key words: caribou, GPS, location data, movements, Rangifer, satellites, telemetry
Chris J. Johnson* & Katherine L. Parker, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, B.C., Canada, V2N 4Z9 - e-mail: email@example.com (Katherine L. Parker)
Douglas C. Heard, British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, 1011 4th Ave., Prince George, B.C., Canada, V2L 3H9 - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Present address: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Z 907 Biological Sciences Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9 - email: email@example.com
Corresponding author: Chris J. Johnson
Received 31 July 2000, accepted 24 September 2001
Associate Editor: Jean-Michel Gaillard