As most National Parks lack basic 3G or 4G Internet coverage, this poses a challenge for device connectivity over a wide area. The first step in deploying IoT solutions to these parks is to cover the conservation area with a reliable network suitable for low power sensors. These networks serve to collect data from sensors distributed throughout the expansive area. Once end devices are deployed and connected to the network, park rangers may leverage sensor data to securely track wildlife movement and monitor the park’s perimeter to prevent poaching.
Taming the Wilderness with LoRaWAN
With the given challenges national parks face, Smart Parks, an innovative conservation company founded in 2013, but its efforts towards creating technology and tracking methods that protect endangered species, humans, and the environment. With its goals in mind, Smart Parks chose LoRa devices to enable sensors that track wildlife and monitor park gates. The application provides real-time information about the location of wildlife and other factors affecting the park environment, via sensors deployed throughout the area. This process called Situational Awareness and plays a very important role in modern wildlife conservation.
Smart Parks chose LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol because they offered the following features:
The LoRaWAN protocol is the de facto standard for LPWAN, enabling consistent connectivity over 40 kilometers from a gateway
LoRa-based solutions flexibly deploy with minimal additional infrastructure and immediately connect to the Cloud
Battery and solar-powered sensors remove the requirement for fixed power and enable battery lifetimes up to 10 years depending on the use case
The LoRaWAN standard encrypts all communication and has security fundamentally built into the specification making signals almost undetectable by poachers.
Creating a LoRaWAN-based Wildlife Refuge
In 2017, Smart Parks successfully deployed geolocation sensors at Mkomazi National Park in Tanzania, covering over 2,000 square kilometers. Small sensors were implanted directly into the horns of endangered Black Rhinos. These rhino trackers show the location of the animals within the park, providing park rangers with actionable intelligence. LoRa-based sensors are also placed throughout the park, including in gates and fences. This allows park rangers to protect endangered species and people inside the sanctuary. Gate sensors report open or closed status, aiding security efforts to monitor those entering and exiting the park.
[ The Source of Pictures and Information is from smartparks.org ]