Deer Blogs His Own GPS Position in Google Earth

Deer Tracker in Google Earth

[UPDATE:The batteries finally ran out on April 28th. ]
[UPDATE June 2008: A new deer has a tracker - this deer is named "Solomon". I've changed the link here to point to the new deer.]
In what may be a short-lived cool geo hack of the day, a deer named “Thor” now has his own blog where he shares his GPS position every five minutes. Someone named ‘Siberian’ at the Google Earth Community posted how he managed to make this happen. Turns out he had collared a deer they named “Thor” with a GPS and cellphone with SMS capability. They are studying deers living in suburban areas in Pennsylvania. Siberian then hacked up a way to use the resulting E-mail to create a spreadsheet which is then converted into a file you can use to track the deer in Google Earth . The system is totally automated using free services. His post goes into detail on how this was all accomplished. Siberian is using some tools by Valery Hronusov – who has developed and posted dozens of cool geo hacks for Google Earth (see his global rainfall example). Valery came up with the idea to let the deer blog his coordinates as well. Thanks to Valery for the tip on this cool deer hack! Note: you can also view the deer’s map in Google Maps.
Any bets on how long it will be before someone hunts down the poor deer?
Other examples of tracking in Google Earth:

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was released. He worked in 3D graphics for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank left in 2009 to circumnavigate the earth by sailboat as part of the Tahina Expedition.



Comments

  1. Wow. That’s a really good implementation of GPS. I find the whole thing interesting because it shows that deer really do not go very far from one location.

  2. The cellphone will probably go dead first :)

  3. Can they automate time animation into it? Like this:
    http://mdge.blogspot.com/2008/03/thor-deer-gps-animated.html

  4. made by a professor who teaches at brynathyn.edu. they have to tackle deer every three months to replace the battery. here’s a pic:
    http://www.potapov-nature.com/forBA/deer/original/Capture1.jpg

  5. How long does the cell phone battery last?

  6. rcfricke says:

    just a note to the uninformed person who wrote the “poor deer” line. Ethical “hunters” (which consists of 99.5% of hunters) persue legal game during legal seasons, and if it were as easy as following a radio signal through a woodlot we would not do it. The next season for deer begins in Sept. By then the “poor deers” battery will be spent and the “poor deer” will be saddled with a collar until he dies, unless the people doing the study do the right thing and find him and get the collar off him.
    I would be curious to know your feelings about these beautiful and incredibly intelligent animals if one of them, due to prolific numbers, ends up through the front windshield of your vehicle.
    Hunters do more to help the whitetail, (as well as other game and non game animals) and spend more money to benefit the species than anti-hunters ever dreamed of.
    I personally am amazed by the whitetail and their adaptability and I find a study like this one helpful in learning more about them.

  7. Finally, an end to the need to stalk deers! Hunting is suddenly so much easier.

  8. Excellent use of technology.
    It is quite magical to see how the deer moves across the map.
    The very same kind of tool would be awesome, if it could be used with a bird.

  9. Imagine reading the dear’s coordinates and he’s just at one position on the side of the road for 2 days until finally he moves rapidly to a city dump…poor deer…

  10. “Ethical” Hunters?
    They failed the army so now they wanna shoot their bullets on animals that don’t fire back. Way to go, you’re the bravest.

  11. Hey, I live near that deer! I could seriously drive there right now!

  12. Yes, “ethical” hunters.
    You know, those folks who despise the animal-abusing, environment-destroying, economy-sinking, consumer-poisoning industrial meat farming industry. The ones who pay millions every year in permit fees and excise taxes which go directly to habitat and wildlife conservation. The same people who support a wildlife *surplus* so they can continue to enjoy the natural world AND hunt. They vote with their dollars.
    Unlike the rest of the omnivorous human population of this country, they go do their own dirty work, play a responsible, managed role in the food chain, and eat organic, free-range, low-impact meat that they kill, clean, butcher, and cook themselves..
    Educate yourself.
    I hope Thor makes it through another season, but if people try to track him down in their cars, he’ll suffer death-by-hybrid.

  13. Hunting and Ethical don’t go hand-in-hand. You’re paying the fees and taxes because you have to. You’re supporting the conservatories so you can have more deer to shoot, not because you’re worried about the species itself. The fact that you’re butchering your own animals doesn’t help at all because the supermarket is going to keep just as much meat in stock as it did before you killed a deer.
    Don’t try and cover up what you do with “ethical” next to it because the government/state makes you pay a fee. You start paying out of your pocket to wildlife conservations you don’t hunt on and you can start to consider it

  14. I was going to suggest a surgical strike on the deer but then I noticed it only broadcasts once every 15 minutes. So you’d have to be pretty quick on the launch trigger for the payload to arrive before Bambi moves…

  15. “I find the whole thing interesting because it shows that deer really do not go very far from one location.”
    Well that’s because he can’t he’s surrounded by dense human habitats. :/

  16. Enviro-Nut says:

    You know you don’t have to use a cell phone to do this type of work. There are companies that make transmitters that work with radio telemetry, so one can follow the movement patterns of, pretty much, any species. Biologists use radio telemetry equipement on turtles, birds, salamanders, bears, deers. etc. How do you think Biologists are keeping track of rare species within the US? It’s not guess work.
    Also,
    “they have to tackle deer every three months to replace the battery”
    I hope they check for ticks after tackling the deer! That’s a sure bet to get lyme disease!

  17. Michigan Meat Eater says:

    In response to “E” from March 24th. I would bet you live in the city and have NEVER hunted for anything you eat or wear for that matter! License fees go a long way toward conservancy, not because we need more deer to shoot, but because there are so many and it is a responsible effort to maintaining a healthy herd! Ever seen a whitetail starve to death because the seasonal snowfall was over 100 inches? I have; it’s not a pretty sight! It’s a cruel death, far more cruel than an arrow or a bullet. And just so you know, we here in Michigan also use the horns to rattle in more deer or for carvings, the hide for gloves, coats and other types of clothing. There is little to no waste from an animal we harvest. The Creator gave us gifts so that man, who is weak, might not starve. But we must be responsible with not only the animals, but the environment. He said, “…care for mother earth and all her creatures and beware, for what ever happens to the earth and animals, so too will happen to man.”

  18. puttputt says:

    I saw a wolf reading that blog at an internet cafe.

  19. Its funny, I suppose it is much more ethical to buy a cow that raised on a farm and butchered rather than pay fees that help the environment and hunt your own game.
    How ignorant.
    So I guess, since I fish, I am unethical, I should buy my fish from the store….

  20. Re: the ethical/hunting posts – how about not eating meat? Everyone’s guilty of hurting animals to some degree. It’s up to each person to decide for themselves how much effort they want to put into avoiding hurting them (in all senses of the word) wherever possible. Ignorance and denial are the only enemies here, not necessarily hunters and not necessarily environmentalists.

  21. It is extremely interesting to know about tracking the deer in Google Earth. A very novel idea, I must say… :-)

  22. how come the battery was good enough for 3 months ?
    im looking long time after something like that but all what i found was 3-5 days battery

  23. Interesting to watch and learn from, but to use it to track the actual buck itself to harvest isn’t exactly sport.

  24. Wow GPS for deer. Awesome. Wish they had that at http://www.peartreegameranch.com . Then I could stay in bed and track the deer. Haha

  25. Okay, but when is this monster buck going to start posting on Facebook? Lol, but showing his GPS location is pretty cool.

Leave a Reply