Camera Trap Software and Data Management

Data processing and management are critical steps in any camera trapping study, given the large amounts of data camera traps produce. 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

 

Data Management

Proper data management is important to ensure minimal loss of data resolution and the highest efficiency possible.

Scotson et al.'s 2017 review paper on data management suggests nine themes to ensure that no data resolution is lost.

We suggest that practitioners use the Camera Trap Metadata Standard (CTMS) outlined by Forrester et al.'s 2016 paper. This metadata standard is currently in use by most of the largest names in large-scale camera trapping, such as the TEAM Network, eMammal, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The government of British Columbia has also produced their own standards for camera trap metadata: the RISC Wildlife Camera Metadata Protocol. Influenced by Forrester et al.'s paper, it adapts the CTMS for use within the British Columbia Wildlife Species Inventory data management system.

 

Software

The use of programmes 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 programmes available for practitioners now, but many of them have most of the same functionalities.  The relatively few unique features that distinguish programmes will help to determine what software to use, and what features are needed for specific studies will vary depending on their study designs. 

Wearn and Glover-Kapfer's camera trapping best practices document as well as two recent review papers (Scotson et al., 2017; Young et al., 2018) contain reviews of available software, compare them, and contain comparison charts to help practitioners evaluate the different programmes’ features against each other.

Note that 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 cole.burton@ubc.ca for more information.

 


Some of these resources 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.