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Using TV Whitespaces to Monitor Endangered Species

The Zoological Society of London mines the gap.

European Otter

European Otter at the London Zoo
Photo by Drew Avery (European Otter {Lutra lutra}) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I am always impressed with the imaginative ways the Zoological Society of London uses technology to try to protect and conserve endangered species. Here’s their latest brainstorm, as described on the ZSL website:

“ZSL and Google are working together to pilot the use of TV whitespaces (TVWS) – unused channels in the broadcast TV spectrum – at ZSL London Zoo. The trial aims to show how TVWS can be used to provide wireless connectivity over a large area and in non-line-of-sight scenarios. This exciting technology has huge potential to deliver fast internet to ZSL’s remote conservation sites and help monitor wildlife globally.

The pilot consists of cameras and TVWS radios installed at the otter, meerkat and Galapagos tortoise enclosures within the Zoo. Live footage from each enclosure is transmitted using TVWS technology to a base station and then streamed live onto ZSL’s YouTube channel. Members of the public can tune in to the live feeds and watch the animals anytime, anywhere.

To ensure there is no interference with licensed spectrum holders, Google’s spectrum database is being used to identify available whitespace.

This trial is the first step in understanding how ZSL can effectively use TVWS to support its field conservation projects. A particular area of interest is integrating TVWS into ZSL’s Instant Wild remote surveillance system to enhance data transmission range. ”

The YouTube streams started on October 9th, and will be live for two months.


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