A prototype system for monitoring an Animal Birth Control intervention

These photos illustrate the display on an Android phone of the application "OSMTracker", configured to record the locations of dogs seen and dogs caught during an ABC intervention. The app forms part of a prototype system designed to exploit the availability of smartphone apps to allow an ABC intervention to monitor itself. Click maps to see a simulation of the sort of information the system provides if used routinely as part of the process of collecting, treating and releasing roaming dogs. I would be happy to receive comments about the proposed system from interested parties (lexhiby@gmail.com).

Required hardware/software

To use the system an animal shelter conducting an ABC intervention needs an Android smartphone (the model illustrated is a Samsung GT-S5360, retailing in India for about 7000 IR), a PC (preferably a small laptop/notebook/netbook) with Google Earth and Microsoft Office installed and a Gmail account. Other than OSMTracker the apps required (Maps, My Files, Camera, Gallery, Gmail) will have been pre-installed on the phone. OSMTracker for Android is available for free via the Play Store.

The software required for the system can be downloaded from the link below. There's no installation file, just a zip file that will create a folder called "SmartPhone_files" when unzipped to a selected location (e.g. the root of the c: drive). The folder contains two Access database files, "ABCdatabase_SmartPhone_demo.mdb" and "ABCdatabase_SmartPhone.mdb" (plus a ABCdatabase_SmartPhone_be.mdb "back end"). The first contains a sample of real data selected with permission of the "Help in Suffering" animal shelter in Jaipur, Rajasthan from their database of clinical data, with random lat/long locations assigned to each dog release record. It also contains a table of imaginary roaming dog survey records collected over the same period, again with random lat/long locations assigned. The second is an empty database that can be used to try out and use the system.

Whenever a button is pressed on the OSMTracker display it records the phone's location along with the text displayed on the button. It also takes a photo and records its location or records a voice message whenever one of those buttons is pressed. To get the app to display the right buttons connect the phone to the PC with its USB cable and copy the "layouts" subfolder from the "SmartPhone_files" folder (unzipped to the PC) to the "osmtracker" folder on the phone (drag the USB icon down the screen, tap "select to copy files to/from your computer" and tap "Connect storage to PC"). Then open the OSMTracker app, go to "settings" and under "Button presets" select the "roamingdogs_voice" option. At the same time tick "Enable sound", "Check GPS at startup" and "Ignore GPS clock", set "GPS logging interval" to 10 seconds and remove the tick from "Background map".

To have the voice recordings play on the PC download the "switch" audio file converter software from http://www.nch.com.au/switch/index.html and install to the default location.  

For usage notes for the  proposed system click recording data on the phone and in the database

For known issues with the proposed system click here