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Environmental Monitoring: AvianGPS


In this project we worked together with University of Oxford and Microsoft Research. The goal was to extend the range of a typical Wireless Sensor Network beyond the boundaries of a stationary WSN deployment.

We developed a lightweight backpack device for animals that is capable of monitoring the behavior and environment of animals even when they leave the fixed area of the study. Furthermore, each device is able to communicate over the radio with other backpack devices and with the deployed stationary WSN during an experiment. This enables continuous data synchronization without the need of recovering the backpack devices.

The AvianGPS device in the current 4th revision is equipped with a GPS receiver, air pressure and temperature sensor, and an ambient light sensor. The board is driven by the MSP430F1611 microcontroller, uses additional local flash storage for log data and the CC1101 transceiver for radio communication.

We started deploying this system on Skomer Island, UK in 2011.


Released Materials


The firmware for the AvianGPS platform

The firmware for the AvianGPS platform was developed at the Freie Universität Berlin. It supports accessing, processing, storing and transmitting sensor data. The emphasis was put on a design of a simple API for user applications and on reduction of the power consumption. For example the idle time is spent in the LPM3 mode when the AvianGPS V4 device uses only 24,9uA.

Read more about the firmware for the AvianGPS platform and how to download it.

The AvianGPS devices and their design files

In this project the hardware was developed at Microsoft Research Cambridge and not at the Freie Universität Berlin. Microsoft Research Cambridge will make the platform available to the research community. The hardware design files will be released as well. We will update this page as soon as the release becomes public. Feel free to contact Tomasz Naumowicz with questions regarding the release schedule.


Our Partners


This project is a result of a wide cooperation with following partners:


Tomasz Naumowicz from the Freie Universität Berlin focused on the system design and software development.

Robin Freeman from Microsoft Research Cambridge and University of Oxford was the animal behavior researcher on the team and focused on the development and deployment of the system as well as on the analysis of the collected data.


Contact: Tomasz Naumowicz