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ClassifyMe: A Field-Scouting Software for the Identification of Wildlife in Camera Trap Images
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Innovations in Camera Trapping Technology and Approaches: The Integration of Citizen Science and Artificial Intelligence

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Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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Conservation Ecology Group, Department of Biosciences, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
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The Society for Preservation of Endangered Carnivores and Their International Ecological Study (SPECIES), Ventura, CA 93006, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(1), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010132
Received: 2 December 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Application of Camera Trap Technology in Field Research)
Camera traps, also known as “game cameras” or “trail cameras”, have increasingly been used in wildlife research over the last 20 years. Although early units were bulky and the set-up was complicated, modern camera traps are compact, integrated units able to collect vast digital datasets. Some of the challenges now facing researchers include the time required to view, classify, and sort all of the footage collected, as well as the logistics of establishing and maintaining camera trap sampling arrays across wide geographic areas. One solution to this problem is to enlist or recruit the public for help as ‘citizen scientists’ collecting and processing data. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also being used to identify animals in digital photos and video; however, this process is relatively new, and machine-based classifications are not yet fully reliable. By combining citizen science with AI, it should be possible to improve efficiency and increase classification accuracy, while simultaneously maintaining and promoting the benefits associated with public engagement with, and awareness of, wildlife.
Camera trapping has become an increasingly reliable and mainstream tool for surveying a diversity of wildlife species. Concurrent with this has been an increasing effort to involve the wider public in the research process, in an approach known as ‘citizen science’. To date, millions of people have contributed to research across a wide variety of disciplines as a result. Although their value for public engagement was recognised early on, camera traps were initially ill-suited for citizen science. As camera trap technology has evolved, cameras have become more user-friendly and the enormous quantities of data they now collect has led researchers to seek assistance in classifying footage. This has now made camera trap research a prime candidate for citizen science, as reflected by the large number of camera trap projects now integrating public participation. Researchers are also turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assist with classification of footage. Although this rapidly-advancing field is already proving a useful tool, accuracy is variable and AI does not provide the social and engagement benefits associated with citizen science approaches. We propose, as a solution, more efforts to combine citizen science with AI to improve classification accuracy and efficiency while maintaining public involvement. View Full-Text
Keywords: camera trapping; citizen science; artificial intelligence; engagement; camera traps; public awareness; data processing; conservation technology camera trapping; citizen science; artificial intelligence; engagement; camera traps; public awareness; data processing; conservation technology
MDPI and ACS Style

Green, S.E.; Rees, J.P.; Stephens, P.A.; Hill, R.A.; Giordano, A.J. Innovations in Camera Trapping Technology and Approaches: The Integration of Citizen Science and Artificial Intelligence. Animals 2020, 10, 132.

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