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Map of Life

MOL Blog

Map of Life partners with Wildlife Insights to unveil AI-supported camera trapping platform

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Protected Areas

Growing threats to biodiversity require detailed, timely information on species’ status and trends in order to deploy conservation actions efficiently and effectively. Camera trapping, or the use of remote, motion-activated cameras, has grown quickly in popularity as a means to collect a massive number of observations of terrestrial mammals and ground-dwelling birds. This deluge of information on wildlife must currently be sifted through manually, limiting the scalability of this potentially transformative technique for global biodiversity monitoring.

To combat these challenges, Map of Life partnered with Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and Google to create Wildlife Insights, a groundbreaking platform for scientists, conservationists, and the public to upload, analyze, and share camera trap images of wildlife. Central to Wildlife Insights’ breakthrough is the use of artificial-intelligence based species detection of images developed by Google which greatly reduces the time required to identify images.

Today, Wildlife Insights announced the unveiling the platform and nearly 4.5 million wildlife images, representing the largest, most diverse camera trap database in the world. Explore the platform here. Watch a short video by Google on how Wildlife Insights was developed.

Map of Life is working to develop global biodiversity indicators relevant to camera trapping observations to provide timely information on biodiversity status and trends. Dr. Ruth Oliver, a postdoc at Yale, has already begun work on identifying the places and species for which camera trapping provides the greatest boost in spatial biodiversity data coverage.

Map of Life is excited to support the development of the Wildlife Insights platform to facilitate near real-time biodiversity monitoring.