Indigenous Australians Caring for Country

National Indigenous Ranger CyberTracker Project

Project description

The primary aim of this project is to implement an on-ground data collection system which aligns with the Caring for our Country monitoring, evaluation, reporting and implementation (MERI) strategy and which will ultimately provide data on the state and change over time in the condition of assets on Indigenous Protected Areas and Working on Country projects. CyberTracker is uniquely appropriate for Indigenous use where there may be language barriers and harsh field conditions.

Ranger Greg Omeenyo using cybertracker at Lockhart River, Queensland

Ranger Greg Omeenyo using cybertracker at Lockhart River, Queensland
Photo: Kath Sale

Indigenous rangers are already achieving environmental outcomes and reporting six-monthly against detailed scopes of works. The coordinated use of CyberTracker technology will enable important improvements to existing reporting by enabling consistent and reliable environmental data collection across projects. CyberTracker records data (on events, observations or issues) in the field for downloading to a database management system where analysis and mapping of the data can be done.

Key success factors for CyberTracker implementation are training and support for Working on Country rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas projects during roll out; coordination of database applications used to record information across groups; as well as, technical support for implementation, data sharing and storage. Training, coordination and support is being provided through three networks across northern, central and southern Indigenous Protected Areas and Working on Country projects.

About CyberTracker

CyberTracker is software which can be loaded onto a personal digital assistant (PDA) device and used to collect field data in a very easy and structured way. It makes use of GPS, camera and voice recording functions built into a PDA to enhance the richness of the data. The software is first loaded onto a PC or laptop where the database can be customised to the data capture task at hand. Once data is collected in the field it is downloaded onto the PC or laptop where it is stored and basic analysis and reporting tasks can be undertaken - including the ability to view data collection points overlayed onto a map or satellite image of the area.

The CyberTracker software was developed and is maintained by CyberTracker Conservation which is non-profit organisation that promotes the vision of a Worldwide Environmental Monitoring Network. CyberTracker sprang from the work of Louis Liebenberg, a South African conservation scientist who learned tracking from bow-and-arrow hunters in Botswana. He recognised the importance of their skills and knowledge for conservation - and how little it was valued by protection authorities, partly because the Bushmen could not read or write. From its origins with the Kalahari Bushmen, CyberTracker projects have been initiated to monitor gorillas in the Congo, butterflies in Switzerland, the Sumatran rhino in Borneo, jaguars in Costa Rica, birds in the Amazon, wild horses in Mongolia, dolphins in California, marine turtles in the Pacific and whales in Antarctica.

Further information about CyberTracker can be found at the CyberTracker website.

The IPA/Working on Country Weed Monitoring Application

The use of CyberTracker to collect biophysical data is progressively being incorporated into the scopes of works of Indigenous Protected Areas and Working on Country projects. The initial focus will be on the collection of weed data as this is an activity undertaken by all projects and a national standard for core attributes already exists making it possible to aggregate the data to regional and national scales.

The Weed Monitoring Application has been developed for use by Indigenous Protected Areas and Working on Country projects in the southern project region. It provides a standard method to collect weed information and aligns with the national core attributes for weed mapping approved by the Australian Weeds Committee on 28 April 2000.

Downloads

The application and associated user documentation can be downloaded below.

Download the application

Note: This CyberTracker application has been developed for a specific project. Training and support in its use is progressively being provided to Indigenous ranger groups in the southern project region. Whilst the application is available to anyone, it is provided "as is" and without warranty or any expectation of training and support.

CyberTracker training at Tidbinbilla, Australian Capital Territory

CyberTracker training at Tidbinbilla, Australian Capital Territory

Contacts

For more information contact:

CyberTracker Coordinator - Southern Region
Environmental Resources Information Network
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Phone: 02 6274 1179
Email: cybertrackerproject@environment.gov.au

Links

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