Frequently, people ask 'We already have a tool. Why are you guys building a new one? Isn't what we are using good enough?"
Rather than critisising our fellow developers who have contributed so much to nature conservation, we inform them about the design principles and strengths of the Platform for Wildlife Intelligence. Based on these, everyone can make an informed choice between the various tools, or use them in combination to cater all user requirements.
In short, the Platform for Wildlife Intelligence is:
an integrated platform, facilitating intelligence functions,
based on best-of-industry solutions,
highly icon-based, minimising language problems,
software and algorithms are 100% sponsored, thus free of charge,
users only pay for continued research, development and support,
cloud-service and data storage are 100% sponsored.
Tool versus Platform
Where a singular tool is optimised for a singular function, a platform ensures that the data that is being processed can be used and analysed by many functions.
You can compare it with a wood workshop. While you need tools like hammers, screwdrivers and saws to create a nice piece of work, the workshop is designed to facilitate that process, ensuring that the various tools are all within reach while granting sufficient space to work on your piece of art.
In software and data-terms, this is translated in agile data integration. There is virtually no limit to the tools and data that can be connected to the platform. Examples include:
observations, including alerts, notes and photo's,
track and trace devices,
sensor data (e.g. temperature, humidity, sounds, etc.),
reports (pfd, word, xls, etc.)
custom map layers,
social media data,
web feeds and data sources (e.g. weather forecasts),
By placing data and the intelligence process at central stage, the required level of technical skills is significantly reduced, as are the errors and amount of (re)workthat has to be carried out by commanders and analysts who have to work with all these tools.
Open source versus best of industry
Sensing Clues works with industry leaders to build and expand the Platform for Wildlife Intelligence. While the cummulated commercial value of Platform for Wildlife Intelligence passed the 120.000 Euro per year, the platform can be provided for free as the various license costs are carried by our Solution Partners. We thus ensure that
our Partners always work with the latest and greatest that the market offers
development efforts and costs are significantly lower
maintenance efforts and costs are significantly lower
For example, the Marklogic database is being used by many intel-organisations, as it is known for its security features and speed. Building such secure and integrated solution with open source components, would cost 1000s of engineering hours and would probably not result in the high level of trust that this market leader brings in. The same is true for the semantic technologies provided by theSemantic Web Company, which is the powerful engine behind Focus 360 Analytics.
Highly icon-based data collection and analytics tools
Rather then struggling with exporting and importing data from trackers and data collection apps to analytical tools, the Platform for Wildlife Intelligence has integrated these functions.
To minimise language issues and the need for technological skills, lots of efforts have been invested in the visual design of Cluey and Focus. The icons used for data collection are customisable and arrange itself in order of use-frequency.
Field tests confirm that no academic background is needed to perform powerful analytical tasks.
In one or two clicks I have a summary of what I want in relation to any incident. That is really awesome!
Moses L. Ranger and Lead Analyst, Kenya
The Platform for Wildlife Intelligence is offered for free. You only pay for support.
To support our partners in the field, we have established a few channels through which users can get help:
A Wildlife Intelligence Forum, where users can help each other
A shared Slack-channel, where selected users per park can discuss their questions and suggestions directly with the people of Sensing Clues
A service-package through which continued development and support is being financed.
We distinguish three support packages. The mentioned prices cover the actual costs. If you cannot afford these (very low) partnership fees, we'll help you to find alternative ways to finance the support.
Free hosting services
The Platform for Wildlife Intelligence is Cloud-based. It can also be installed locally. And through the highly advanced feature of Flexible Replication, a combination between the two is also possible. The latter allows you to easily distribute portions of your data without worrying about security vulnerabilities or disconnected, intermittent, and latent networks.
The Cloud-service is sponsored by our Solution Partner BIT Internet Technology.
Future functions and development
The February 2019 version represents a Minimal Viable Product. It contains all functions needed by rangers to record tracks and field observations, and powerful analytical functions to quickly answer the "golden W-questions" of what, where, when, who, with what, how, and why.
creation of interactive risk maps and heat maps
dedicated data collection forms for documenting snares, kilns, arrestees and footprints.
dossier forming for law enforcement purposes
Specialised smart sensors
In addition to the above functions, Sensing Clues is developing specialised sensors that can be left in the field to monitor identified hotspots or high risk locations that cannot be monitored 24/7 by rangers.
the SERVAL sensor can detect specific types of sounds, such as chainsaws, gunshots, motors, trucks, airplanes, but also dog barks, cattle, singing and other human related sounds. The sensor is still very much in the R&D phase, as its power consumption is still to high to use it for prolonged periods in the bush.
The Trespasser sensor can detect electronic devices such as smartphones. The sensor is field-ready.
Last but not least: HWC's
Human Wildlife Conflicts (HWC) form an increasing problem and deserve special attention. Within the Platform for Wildlife Intelligence we have included a few functions which are highly relevant for HWC-mitigation:
In the Cluey-app you can create civilian and tourist participation projects, allowing farmers and other friends in the park to share sightings and warnings with the guarding rangers.
If dangerous animals wear trackers, geo-fences can be drawn to automatically raise alarms when the animal crosses these lines.
We are training the SERVAL sensorwith animal sounds, including elephant rumbles. As soon as the algorithms are strong enough, the sensor can be placed near human settlements to raise early warnings when elephant are nearing.