Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


USDA Wireless Tracking Device

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Scott Smith


The USDA currently uses GPS tracking systems to tag and track wildlife, but because the GPS systems can fail or be imprecise in certain environmental conditions, they are eager to invest in a backup tracking system. This project researches and designs a wireless tracking system that will allow tracking of wildlife through RF transmissions. Current RF transmitting tracking devices can be obtain off the shelf, but are not user configurable. The USDA is looking for a transmitter that can be configured to utilize different frequencies and to transmit data in different patterns. The tracking device for this project transmits on a specific, yet user configurable, frequency which will be picked up by a receiver that can be used to locate the animal wearing the tracking collar. The transmitted signal is user configurable as well, so that the user can determine the length and distance apart that the transmitter sends a pulse. Any user configuration is done through the onboard microcontroller. The tracking device has a low power consumption design which allows the battery to last for at least a year, which will minimize the need to locate the animal for replacement. The device also includes an accelerometer, which will sense an animal fatality if the animal remains stationary for a certain period of time. Additional features that could be added to the tracking device include communication with the GPS tracking system to transmit GPS data through the RF transmitter. Adding a receiver to the tracking device would allow updates of the GPS tracking system as well.