Introducing AMV (Animal Movement Visualizer), a visualization tool for animal movement data from satellite collars and radiotelemetry

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May 05, 2013
Devtulya Kavathekar, Thomas Mueller, William F. Fagan


Researchers and wildlife managers often want to understand how landscape features influence an individual animal's movement. Animal movement data, whether derived from satellite collars, cellphone/hydrophone nets, or radiotelemetry studies, provide a range of information on movement including large-scale displacements and small-scale changes in orientation and velocity. To help contextualize such data and facilitate their interpretation, we developed a Java informatics tool, Animal Movement Visualizer v1.0. Built on the NASA World Wind v1.2 development kit, our free, downloadable software can display simultaneously the pathways of multiple animals moving against a backdrop of digital imagery of the Earth's surface, allowing researchers and managers to observe how multiple individuals move about with respect to one another in relative time. The program can accommodate datasets with irregularly timed relocations and relocation intervals that vary among individuals. The software displays the Earth's surface in a scalable way, facilitating visualization of specific landscape features. To illustrate possible uses for AMV, we provide a sample dataset for movement tracks of Mongolian gazelles (Procapra gutturosa) moving across steppe habitat.

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