Data processing and management are critical steps in any camera trapping study. We have compiled several resources relevant to proper data management as well as software for efficient data processing.
Camera Trap Software and Data Management Resources
Scotson, L., L.R. Johnston, FIannarilli, O.R. Wearn, J. Mohd‐Azlan, J.M. Wong, C.E. Willard. 2017. Best practices and software for the management and sharing of camera trap data for small and large scales studies. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, 3: 158-172.
For tips and tricks on how to organize camera trap data, check out this WildCAM webinar co-hosted by the Columbia Mountains Institute for Applied Ecology. The webinar was led by Dr. Christopher Beirne (UBC WildCo Lab) and takes you through the process of getting a memory card out of a camera trap through to producing useful and simple data exploration in R.
Dr. Beirne has also created a great resource about how to create reproducible research with camera trap data. This document highlights some of the different analyses you can run with camera trap data and importantly, links to some useful data exploration scripts in R.
The WildCo Lab also has a GitHub page with additional R scripts you can download and use to explore your own data, including for single and multi-site studies and using R to extract GIS data for your camera trap project.
Data platforms are web- and desktop-based tools used for efficient and standardized data management, sharing, and analysis of remote camera data. A number of platforms exist so it is important that users choose the one best suited to their needs. To help camera trap users make this decision, we have developed a comparison of different camera data platforms. It provides an overview of platforms and software used in remote camera research in western Canada. As software and online tools are often subject to frequent updates and change, we recognize this as a document subject to change over time. Click here to review the comparison (last updated March 2023). We welcome feedback at any time (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The use of programs specifically designed for camera trap photos and their associated data is now recognized as the best method for data processing. There are quite a few programs available for practitioners, but many of them have most of the same functionalities. The relatively few unique features that distinguish programs will help to determine what software to use, and what features are needed for specific studies will vary depending on their study designs.
Wearn, O. R. and P. Glover-Kapfer. 2017. Camera-trapping for conservation: a guide to best-practices. WWF conservation technology series 1.1 181.
Young, S., J. Rode‐Margono and R. Amin. 2018. Software to facilitate and streamline camera trap data management: a review. Ecology and Evolution, 8: 9947-9957.
** NOTE: UBC’s Wildlife Coexistence Lab is currently developing a cloud-based program for camera data management that may be available to WildCAM members in the future. Contact email@example.com for more information. **
Image Recognition for Camera Trap Photos
Researchers are increasingly exploring the use of image recognition software as a way to more efficiently and accurately classify species and to differentiate empty camera trap photos from those with animals. An automated process for classifying images may be a big break for photo management, but there is a lot of important information that potential users should know. Saul Greenberg of the University of Calgary has produced a guide about the use of image recognition for processing camera trap photos. This guide gives an overview of how it works and also details the advantages and current limitations associated with image recognition.
Greenberg, S. 2020. Automated Image Recognition for Wildlife Camera Traps: Making it Work for You. Technical report, Prism University of Calgary’s Digital Repository http://hdl.handle.net/1880/112416, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. August 21.
Greenberg, S., Godin, T. and J. Whittington. 2019. User Interface Design Patterns for Wildlife-Related Camera Trap Image Analysis. Ecology and Evolution. 9: 13706-13730.
Timelapse reads and displays images and videos from any type of remote camera, automatically extracting information from all images such as dates, times and metadata of your choosing. For more information, please contact Saul Greenberg: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the resources listed above may not be open access. If an article is not open access, we recommend contacting the corresponding author to request a copy or checking common repositories such as Research Gate for now.