Autonomous Collaborative Observatory at the Welder Wildlife Refuge
Yan Zhang1 and Ken Goldberg
CONE Welder is a collaborative networked observatory we designed and implemented with scientists from the Smithsonian Institute to study bird range change at the Welder Wildlife Refuge in Texas. As of September 2008, 450 players have recorded 1400 photos of birds using a networked robotic Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera to systematically collect data on the daily and seasonal occurrence of subtropical birds in this area. We are now developing an autonomous mode of operation for the networked camera. Through learning from observers’ observation history, the camera scans preset bird stations at Welder Wildlife Refuge when no human operators are active. We are currently applying motion detection and object recognition algorithms so that the camera automatically detects and photographs birds and other wildlife.
Figure 1: Observation (May 2008–August 2008) distribution at the Welder Wildlife Refuge in Sinton, Texas
1IEOR PhD Student