Have you seen any elephants recently? Most probably, no. Isn’t it? Each year elephants are declining by 8% only because of poaching in Africa. In comparison, humans are killing a few elephants to fulfill their greed. Also, people were using most of the elephant’s habitat for agricultural purposes.
These human activities have led to the conservation of elephants and new technology to save elephants. Using this technology, now, elephants can be counted and tracked from space.
The idea of Space Technology to Track Elephants
Earlier, scientists and environmentalists used to detect and count elephants through aerial surveys. In general, an aerial survey collects data using balloons, helicopters, and airplanes. This process includes aerial photography, remote sensing, geophysical data, etc.
However, the information is not accurate. Sometimes, researchers need a total number of animals in a particular area, distribution, and other related data that aerial surveys don’t produce with accuracy. Also, sometimes it lacks a bit of essential data that is required for research.
This challenge to track and conserve elephant species has led to the innovative idea of space technology tracking. Using this modern technology, one can track and count the elephants from space without human research and surveying.
Space Tracking Technology Team
A research team at the University of Oxford collaborated with the “POT” to develop the latest technology to track space elephants. For this, they need software that automatically detects and monitors elephants in a particular place.
So, the department of Zoology, Machine Learning Research Group, in collaboration with Dr. Olga Isupova from the University of Bath, and Dr. Tiejun Wang, a professor at the University of Twente, Netherlands, helped to build the software based on Artificial Intelligence to detect African elephant groups using satellite images.
Finally, thanks to NASA, it has successfully managed to track elephants directly from space with accurate results with satellite images or “Worldview 3” owned by Maxar Technologies. It has been observed that, in a single shot, the satellite images cover over 5000 km in just a few minutes.
To develop this technology, the research team created a custom data set of more than 1000 elephants. And then, they are tracked using space tracking technology. The output was most precise with this new technology. In contrast, human research failed to produce accurate data.
University of Orford researchers admitted that image processing is one of the significant challenges in space tracking technology. The satellite snaps thousands of images in a single shot. While we only need photos of the elephants.
However, the automation technology helped out process the images that we need from the other stuff in a few minutes. Moreover, the results produced by the machine are accurate with the least errors.
Not Only Elephants
It’s good news that now endangered animals can be protected from selfish humans through space technology effortlessly. This technology helps elephants and rhinoceros, mountain gorillas, whales, polar bears, and other cetaceans.
Hope for the best that this technology saves many species on other days and gives them to future generations.