Tag Archive | Trail Camera

Snapshot Saturday: June 22nd, 2019

There are many telltale signs of summer, but our favorite here at Snapshot Wisconsin is the appearance of fawns on camera. Fawns are born with reddish brown coats and a collection of white spots; this coloration helps them blend in with the forest until they begin molting into their winter coats.

Have you “spotted” any fawns on your cameras yet?

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Did you know you can view and classify photos collected from Snapshot Wisconsin cameras across the state at www.SnapshotWisconsin.org? It’s a fun activity for the whole family!

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Top 10 Reasons to Host a Snapshot Wisconsin Trail Camera

Rumor has it that summer is around the corner, which is the perfect time to sign up for a Snapshot Wisconsin trail camera! Do you have access to public land or a private property at least 10 acres in size? A computer with internet? The ability to participate for a least a year? If you answered yes to these questions, congrats – you are already qualified! If you are thinking “But why should I apply?”, here are 10 commonly quoted reasons by our volunteers and project staff:

1. It’s free!

We provide all necessary equipment (including a Bushnell camera), training, technical support and replacements at NO cost! No previous experience is required, we are happy to teach you!

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2. Use your trail camera see up close pictures of wildlife.

Feed your curiosity and learn what is on your property and public lands.

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3. Hosting a trail camera is a great excuse to get out into the woods.

And we’ll remind you to check your camera every three months. That way you’ll head outdoors in all seasons and be on track with the program.

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4. Contribute to wildlife monitoring.

Photos collected through Snapshot Wisconsin are turned into important data used for supporting wildlife management decisions at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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5. Interact with the researchers.

Volunteers interact with the Snapshot Wisconsin research team at various outreach events, both in person and online. We also visit various groups across the state talking about the project and are available for questions on call or email.

6. Be in the know – get regular updates on data collected.

The research team provides regular updates aimed at volunteers – our monthly e-newsletter and blog are chock full of interesting information.

7. Socialize with other volunteers.

Our volunteers meet other citizen science enthusiasts at trainings, outreach and volunteer appreciation events. Discussions at these events can range from how the last hunting season went to secret birding locations, Packer football and so on.

Apart from the events, our Zooniverse forum allows you to interact with more 6500 volunteers from across the globe with the one thing that binds them all – interest in Wisconsin’s charismatic wildlife through the lens of a trail camera.

8. Improve your wildlife identification skills.

We provide a web-interface MySnapshot for volunteers to classify and view their pictures. Our Zooniverse forum is also a way to classify the pictures from across the state.

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 9. Educational outlet for students or nature center visitors.

Hundreds of educators participate in Snapshot Wisconsin. Snapshot Wisconsin is a great avenue to take your class outdoors and to bring the outdoors back into the classroom. Many nature centers also participate in Snapshot Wisconsin and are a great outlet for information on Wisconsin’s wildlife.

10. Provides an opportunity to bridge nature and technology.

Snapshot Wisconsin provides a great opportunity to bridge nature and technology. Trail cameras are non-invasive and providing a wealth of data about the secretive critters of Wisconsin. It’s a great technology for the good, connecting people and nature.

Convinced yet? Signup here: www.SnapshotWISignup.org!
Do you have a few more questions? Contact us at DNRSnapshotWisconsin@Wisconsin.org

 

 

Snapshot Saturday: June 15th, 2019

Think of the iconic, raspy scream you hear from a raptor during a television show or movie. Did you know that it often belongs to the red-tailed hawk? No matter the species on screen, the call is often voiced-over by this hawk’s mighty and distinctive screech.

Check out this red-tailed hawk captured on a Dodge County Snapshot Wisconsin camera (you’ll have to imagine the sound yourself!)

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Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/.

Snapshot Saturday: June 8th, 2019

True to their name, all bobcats share their distinctive, bobbed tails, but no two bobcats are made the same. Bobcat coats can vary so greatly that they can even be used to identify specific individuals during research projects. Check out this Clark County bobcat captured on a Snapshot Wisconsin trail camera!

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Did you know you can view and classify photos collected from Snapshot Wisconsin cameras across the state at www.SnapshotWisconsin.org? It’s a fun activity for the whole family!

Snapshot Saturday: June 1st, 2019

We don’t know exactly how this scene ended on this Snapshot Wisconsin camera, but we are guessing it wasn’t pretty. What interesting combinations of species have you captured on your trail camera?

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Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/.

May Science Update: Maintaining Quality in “Big Data”

Snapshot Wisconsin relies on different sources to help classify our growing dataset of more than 27 million photos, including our trail camera hosts, Zooniverse volunteers and experts at Wisconsin DNR. With all these different sources, we need ways to assess the quality and accuracy of the data before it’s put into the hands of decision makers.

A recent publication in Ecological Applications by Clare et. al (2019) looked at the issue of maintaining quality in “big data” by examining Snapshot Wisconsin images. The information from the study was used to develop a model that will help us predict which photos are most likely to contain classification errors. Because Snapshot-specific data were used in this study, we can now use these findings to decide which data to accept as final and which images would be best to go through expert review.

Perhaps most importantly, this framework allows us to be transparent with data users by providing specific metrics on the accuracy of our dataset. These confidence measures can be considered when using the data as input for models, when choosing research questions, and when interpreting the data for use in management decision making.

False-positive, false-negative

The study examined nearly 20,000 images classified on the crowdsourcing platform, Zooniverse. Classifications for each specie were analyzed to identify the false-negative error probability (the likelihood that a species is indicated as not present when it is) and the false-positive error probability (the likelihood that a species is indicated as present when it is not).

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Figure 2 from Clare et al. 2019 – false-negative and false-positive probabilities by species, estimated from expert classification of the dataset. Whiskers represent 95% confidence intervals and the gray shading in the right panel represents the approximate probability required to produce a dataset with less than 5% error.

The authors found that classifications were 93% correct overall, but the rate of accuracy varied widely by species. This has major implications for wildlife management, where data are analyzed and decisions are made on a species-by-species basis. The graphs below show how variable the false-positive and false-negative probabilities were for each species, with the whiskers representing 95% confidence intervals.

Errors by species

We can conclude from these graphs that each species has a different set of considerations regarding these two errors. For example, deer and turkeys both have low false-negative and false-positive error rates, meaning that classifiers are good at correctly identifying these species and few are missed. Elk photos do not exhibit the same trends.

When a classifier identifies an elk in a photo, it is almost always an elk, but there are a fair number of photos of elk that are classified as some other species. For blank photos, the errors go in the opposite direction: if a photo is classified as blank, there is a ~25% probability that there is an animal in the photo, but there are very few blank photos that are incorrectly classified as having an animal in them.

Assessing species classifications with these two types of errors in mind helps us understand what we need to consider when determining final classifications of the data and its use for wildlife decision support.

Model success

When tested, the model was successful in identifying 97% of misclassified images. Factors considered in the development of the model included: differences in camera placement between sites; the way in which Zooniverse users interacted with the images; and more.

In general, the higher the proportion of users that agreed on the identity of the animal in the image, the greater the likelihood it was correct. Even seasonality was useful in evaluating accuracy for some species – snowshoe hares were found to be easily confused with cottontail rabbits in the summertime, when they both sport brown pelage.

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Not only does the information derived from this study have major implications for Snapshot Wisconsin, the framework for determining and remediating data quality presented in this article can benefit a broad range of big-data projects.

Snapshot Saturday: May 25th, 2019

In addition to making excellent back-scratchers, trees also offer a tool for black bear to communicate with one another. These so called “rub trees” assist bears in shedding their winter coats while leaving behind their scent, making their presence known to passersby.

Check out this black back and their rub tree captured on a Marinette County Snapshot Wisconsin camera!

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Did you know you can view and classify photos collected from Snapshot Wisconsin cameras across the state at www.SnapshotWisconsin.org? It’s a fun activity for the whole family!

Snapshot Saturday: May 18th, 2019

Test your Wisconsin wildlife identification skills with this below trail camera image. These small, rare members of the weasel family were once extirpated from the state and later reintroduced in Wisconsin northwoods. Staff members were pleasantly surprised when the first individual of this species made their debut on a Snapshot Wisconsin camera in Vilas County this year!

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Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/.

Snapshot Saturday: May 11th, 2019

Can you guess what tree-climbing species is featured in this Snapshot Saturday? We will give you a hint, their “crimson cousins” don’t share this skill!

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Did you know you can view and classify photos collected from Snapshot Wisconsin cameras across the state at www.SnapshotWisconsin.org? It’s a fun activity for the whole family!

Snapshot Saturday: May 4th, 2019

Trail cameras offer a non-invasive approach to monitor not only animals, but their surrounding habitats as well. In addition to capturing exciting images of wildlife Snapshot Wisconsin cameras are programmed to take a daily time-lapse image at 10:40 a.m.  As part of the project’s phenology research staff members began measuring the greenness in these time-lapse photos to determine when the different “phenophases”, or significant stages in the yearly cycle of a location’s vegetation, are occurring across the state.

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If you have noticed the vegetation around you becoming a little more colorful, that is because much of the state is entering the “greenup” phenophase. This Snapshot Saturday features a Sawyer County elk enjoying spring greenup from May 2018.

Interested in hosting your own Snapshot Wisconsin camera? Visit our webpage to find out how to get involved: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/research/projects/snapshot/.