Internet of Things tackles global animal poaching

Springwise: “ZSL (Zoological Society of London), one of the most famous zoos in Europe, has teamed up with non-profit technology company Digital Catapult to support the development of anti-poaching technology. The partnership will use the Internet of Things (IoT) and Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies to create a sensor and satellite-enabled network that will be able to help conservationists monitor wildlife and respond to poaching threats on land and sea in some of the world’s most remote national parks.

Up to 35,000 African elephants were killed by poachers in 2016, and black rhino and mountain gorilla populations continue to be at high risk. LPWAN could help prevent poaching in game reserves by enabling remote sensors to communicate with one another over long distance while using only a small amount of power. These connected sensors are able to detect activities nearby and determine whether these originate from wildlife or poachers, creating immediate alerts for those monitoring the area.

Digital Catapult has installed a LPWAN base station at the ZSL headquarters at London Zoo, which will enable prototypes to be tested on site. This technology will build on the revolutionary work already underway in areas including Kenya, Nepal, Australia, the Chagos Archipelago, and Antarctica.

The practise of poaching has been the target of many technology companies, with a similar project using artificial intelligence to monitor poachers recently coming to light. One of the many devastating impacts of poaching is the potential to cause extinction of some animals, and one startup has tackled this potential catastrophe with rhinos by producing a 3D printed horn that could help the species avoid being a target….(More)”.

Open data for transit app developers

Springwise: “Creating good transit apps can be difficult, given the vast amount of city (and worldwide) data app builders need to have access to. Aiming to address this, Transitland is an open platform that aggregates publicly available transport information from around the world.

The startup cleans the data sets, making them easy-to-use, and adds them to Mapzen, an open source mapping platform. Mapzen Turn-by-Turn is the platform’s transport planning service that, following its latest expansion, now contains data from more than 200 regions around the world on every continent except Antarctica. Transitland encourages anyone interested in transport, data and mapping to get involved, from adding data streams to sharing new apps and analyses. Mapzen Turn-by-Turn also manages all licensing related to use of the data, leaving developers free to discover and build. The platform is available to use for free.

We have seen a platform enable data sharing to help local communities and governments work better together, as well as a startup that visualizes government data so that it is easy-to-use for entrepreneurs….(More)”

Sammies finalists are harnessing technology to help the public

Lisa Rein in the Washington Post: “One team of federal agents led Medicare investigations that resulted in more than 600 convictions in South Florida, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars. Another official boosted access to burial sites for veterans across the country. And one guided an initiative to provide safe drinking water to 5 million people in Uganda and Kenya. These are some of the 33 individuals and teams of federal employees nominated for the 13th annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, among the highest honors in government. The 2014 finalists reflect the achievements of public servants in fields from housing to climate change, their work conducted in Washington and locations as far-flung as Antarctica and Alabama…
Many of them have excelled in harnessing new technology in ways that are pushing the limits of what government thought was possible even a few years ago. Michael Byrne of the Federal Communications Commission, for example, put detailed data about broadband availability in the hands of citizens and policymakers using interactive online maps and other visualizations. At the Environmental Protection Agency, Douglas James Norton made water quality data that had never been public available on the Web for citizens, scientists and state agencies.”