Recent updates from Motus

In addition to the major milestones posted below, users interested in latest progress regarding Motus should considering signing up to the Motus discussion group.

October 2019 Motus Website and R Package Update:

We are pleased to inform you that we have recently released new updates to the Motus website and R package. These updates primarily support the integration of Cellular Tracking Technologies (CTT) line of SensorStations & nodes, LifeTags and PowerTags. More details about CTT integration are available below.

We have also made a number of improvements to the R package which are summarized here https://github.com/MotusWTS/motus/blob/master/NEWS.md. Additional new features to the interface and website, and bug fixes are also summarized below.

Important for R package users: Because of the nature of the changes, everyone will be required to download the latest version of the Motus R package (v3) in order to access your Motus data, and you will also be required to download a complete new copy of the .motus file for your projects or receivers.

Some users have experienced issues while trying to update to the latest Motus R version. The following steps should fix those problems:

  1. Delete the old package
    > remove.packages(c(“motus”))
  2. Install the new package
    > install_github(“motusWTS/motus@master”)
  3. During installation, you may need to update other packages that already exist on your computer which should happen automatically, but sometimes there’s an error when R doesn’t have the correct permission to delete the old packages. In this case, you will need to manually delete or rename the package folder(s) where ever you store your libraries (use .libPaths() to find out where).
  4. When prompted, rename the old local database (your ‘.motus’ file).
    > The old file is no longer compatible with the latest version.

Please contact us if you run into any other issues along the way.

 Additional new website and interface features and bug fixes:

  • R Package changes are tracked here https://github.com/MotusWTS/motus/blob/master/NEWS.md
    • A new activity table that can be used to generate filters based on the radio activity at a station to help identify false detections was released in V.2. (August 2019).
    • A corrected timestamp (tsCorrected) in the alltags view from receiver deployments that used non-UTC time.
    • Can have multiple sessions per username in R package
  • Additional validations and fields on the metadata management page.
  • Allow receiver and tag deployment start/end dates to be edited at any time.
  • Disallow setting a species on a test tag deployment.
  • New entry on project page: Identify which institution invoices should be directed?
  • New on Lotek receiver deployment pages: specify UTC offset.
  • Receiver deployments: handle duplicate port numbers.
  • Receiver deployments: handle CTT serial numbers
  • CTT receiver and tag registration, APIs for connections to CTT servers
  • Admin interface for administrators to browse the files in CTT’s AWS storage and our NAS
  • Automatic file transfer to and from CTT’s AWS storage
  • API for returning deprecated batches
  • Support for batch version numbers
  • Switch from sg_ to det_ tables
  • Create fewer new ProjInfo objects
  • Improved handling of job processes which are interrupted
  • Many improvements to logs produced by background processes
  • Increase minimum # of database connections in the pool from 3 to 15
  • Changes to filters in detection summaries (now handled when summaries are generated)
  • API for SGData activity query
  • Performance improvements in ComputeTracks
  • Support for batch updates in Database
  • Access all session and application attributes through Attributes class
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes
  • Miscellaneous cleanup suggested by static analysis
October 2019 Cellular Tracking Technologies Integration:

In order to strengthen the range of innovative technology and data management options available for collaborators to use with Motus, Bird Studies Canada has been working in partnership with Cellular Tracking Technologies (CTT) to integrate their line of LifeTag™ and PowerTag™, and receivers, SensorStations™, into the Motus network. Funding for this work was provided by one of the system’s largest supporters, CANARIE (a non-profit corporation that strengthens Canadian leadership in science and technology by delivering digital infrastructure that supports world-class research and innovation), and substantial investment by CTT.

Lotek Wireless remains an important partner, and we’re continuing to work with them to improve the integration of their technology with the system. We do not view these technologies as competitive, rather complementary. Together, they provide Motus collaborators with a robust range of tools and possibilities to fuel research and conservation science well into the future.

CTT’s tags are advanced variants of tags originally designed and tested extensively by Dr. David Winkler and the TABER team at Cornell University and operate on 434 MHz. There are a number of important operational differences between these tags compared to the widely used Lotek Nanotags© that currently operate on 150.1, 151.5, and 166.38 Mhz, but fundamentally the data is similar. The most notable difference is that they have millions of unique ID’s compared to thousands available with Nanotags.  There are also fundamental differences in how the tags are coded which makes data management easier. While the tags differ somewhat in functionality, shape and design, in most cases the principles of harness and attachment protocols are identical, weights of the tag options are generally comparable, and tests and projects to date have worked exceptionally well.

CTT’s SensorStation receivers are a custom hybrid between the open-source Sensorgnome used by most Motus collaborators, and CTT’s own receiver that listens for CTT tags. These receivers can detect Lotek Nanotags© and CTT tags.  Sensorgnomes operating on Raspberry Pi computers throughout the network can also be modified to listen for both types of tags with the use of a radio dongle listening for CTT signals. An updated software update to accommodate this will be available shortly. Lotek receivers only detect Nanotags. The distribution of stations is still dominated by those listening for Nanotags, but the number of stations listening for CTT tags and dual-mode stations listening for both Nanotags and CTT tags is expanding. You can view the current locations of stations monitoring various frequencies using our receiver map.

Data from all receivers and all tag types are centralized and housed in the Motus database at the Bird Studies Canada National Data Centre, and data from all receiver types and tags are available to collaborators through the Motus web portals and R package/book.

We’ll continue to update content and instructions on the Motus website, and will post any updates to the Motus discussion group. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

December 2018
Integration of Celluar Tracking Technologies Lifetags ™

Motus recently received funding from CANARIE’s Research Software Program to support the integration of Cellular Tracking Technologies LifeTags ™ into Motus. A summary is available here, and more details will be announced as they become available.

September 2018
IOC, Vancouver

At the recent International Ornithological Congress Vancouver, cooperators presented 24 oral presentations or posters featuring research using Motus. A summary of these abstracts is available here.

July 2018
Motus Workshop Oct 5th-7th, 2018 – Powdermill Nature Reserve

Powdermill Nature reserve will host a second Motus workshop from October 5th – 7th

Click here to register and view more information, or contact us.

March 2018
Motus used to study full life cycle of the critically endangered Kirtland’s Warbler

See Audubon article here and ace-eco paper here

February 2, 2018
New data download procedure and website features

We are pleased to inform you that we have recently released new data access features and significant updates to the Motus website:

A notification centre is now available for each project to help ensure all aspects of your project metadata is complete and accurate. **Incomplete metadata may result in incomplete detection files.** Please click on the “Data Issues” link on your Manage Project page to view and correct any outstanding issues.

Data downloads are now available by project or receiver directly through a new motus R package. Data will be available to download through this feature in real time, allowing you to update your .motus files as new data is available. Data will no longer be available through static files except in special circumstances. Detailed instructions on how to install this package, download your data, filter potential false positives, and start exploring are available in the updated Motus R Book.

A new Track Search tool allows you to view animated tracks of all Motus tags and summaries from each station, easily filtered by project or species.

We hope these tools will act as useful resources for your project. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or notice any issues with these new tools.

Happy exploring.

The Motus Crew

January 15, 2018
Tag Detection Data Update

Motus detection data files have been updated on your respective project pages at Motus.org which should include all data uploaded since September, with a few exceptions. We are working through various minor bugs for some batches which will be updated as they become available. Instructions on accessing your data are available in the Motus R Book.

Please let us know if you run into any problems, or if there appears to be any data missing from your files.

On behalf of the Motus Team.

September 18, 2017
Tag Detection Data Now Available

We are very pleased to announce that tag detection data are now available for download from the Motus web site!

Login to your account, visit the download page, select project, and look for the Tag detections link.

Data are provided as a SQLite file (extension .motus), which can be used in R. To help you navigate this, we created an online book that explains how you can load and use your data using R. The book will be expanded as new tools, R functions and examples become available. In the near future you will be able to create and update your own files directly from the Motus server within the R package (currently being developed).

The processing is now entirely automated and will deal with new receiver files as they are submitted. New files submitted will be added to the processing queue, and any detections of your tags will be added automatically to your project’s SQLite file available for download. Please note that not all of the receiver files have yet been processed. We’ll soon provide a status page on the Motus web site so you can see the processing status of each receiver.

We encourage you to scrutinize your data carefully for inconsistencies (e.g., false positive detections) or omissions (e.g., registered tags that don’t have associated detections data). Future updates to the Motus R book will provide instructions to help you filter and check your data. Recall that the data processing relies heavily on complete and accurate tag and receiver metadata, so please ensure your metadata are complete and up to date. Missing or incorrect metadata can result in missing detections for your and other projects. If you detect problems with your data, please contact motus@birdscanada.org with a carefully documented record of the issue(s). Please include enough detail that someone unfamiliar with your data can understand and reproduce your issue.

September 12, 2017
Motus Data Access Update

The following is an update to our note on 21 August (below). We are pleased to report that all of our automated processes are up and running, and are performing well. Data processing has been underway for several days and about half of all back-logged receivers have been completed.

We are currently populating “static files” for each project that will include all available data to date, which you will be able to download from your project page at motus.org starting 18 September. We will post an update to this list and contact project PI’s when these files are ready, along with instructions on how to access your data. We will continue to renew these files continuously as new data becomes available, and will notify everyone when all the receivers have been processed. Until all receivers have been processed, data for your project might be incomplete. Nevertheless, this is an excellent opportunity to begin working with your data.

Please note that the data processing relies heavily on complete and accurate tag and receiver metadata, so please ensure your metadata are complete and up to date. Missing or incorrect metadata can result in missing detections for your and other projects.

We apologize for the delay and thank you for your patience. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

August 21, 2017
An update on data processing

Over the past year, we have been working on computer programming intended to process most aspects of Motus data automatically. When completed, this will allow for rapid data retrieval by researchers, and support continued growth of the Motus network. This transition has taken longer than we anticipated, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

We are now pleased report that we have been making excellent progress with programming and testing. As a result, we anticipate that your data will be available to you in early September. We will provide instructions soon on how you will be able to access and use your data through a Motus R package.

We will post another update as soon as the process is completed. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we complete the automation process which is necessary for an efficient and effective system.

The Motus team

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