Article

radR: an open-source platform for acquiring and analysing data on biological targets observed by surveillance radar.

Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, Canada.
BMC Ecology 10/2010; 10:22. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-10-22
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Radar has been used for decades to study movement of insects, birds and bats. In spite of this, there are few readily available software tools for the acquisition, storage and processing of such data. Program radR was developed to solve this problem.
Program radR is an open source software tool for the acquisition, storage and analysis of data from marine radars operating in surveillance mode. radR takes time series data with a two-dimensional spatial component as input from some source (typically a radar digitizing card) and extracts and retains information of biological relevance (i.e. moving targets). Low-level data processing is implemented in "C" code, but user-defined functions written in the "R" statistical programming language can be called at pre-defined steps in the calculations. Output data formats are designed to allow for future inclusion of additional data items without requiring change to C code. Two brands of radar digitizing card are currently supported as data sources. We also provide an overview of the basic considerations of setting up and running a biological radar study.
Program radR provides a convenient, open source platform for the acquisition and analysis of radar data of biological targets.

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    • "These track-while-scanning techniques depend on the consistency of flight paths between scans and have the ability to eliminate spurious signals that would otherwise cause false detections. Such techniques are employed in Taylor et al. (2010) and Dinevich & Leshem (2006). The second source of motion information is the radial velocity product and is limited to Doppler systems. "
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Use of radar in ornithology, chiropterology and entomology continues to increase, driven in part by wide-spread online data availability. In addition to research applications, rapid growth in areas such as wind energy and aviation has prompted the use of radar for conservation. While a variety of research applications motivate ecologists to gain basic radar literacy, the ability to process and analyse radar data sets can be a daunting task that may dissuade inexperienced ecological radar users. This effect is exacerbated by vague radar methodologies in the ecology literature, as well as the combination of complex techniques and unfamiliar terminology in other radar-focused disciplines. 2. While radar data come in many formats and levels of detail, a common type is the two-dimensional radar image. As rasters of data with associated spatial coordinates, radar images are relatively easy to manipulate, especially for those familiar with basic raster computations. Furthermore, because radar image data require relatively small storage space, they can be readily downloaded from a number of online sources. With this in mind, radar images provide a convenient foundation for ecological applications. 3. A primer on radar image interpretation and processing is presented, with a focus on image composition for typical atmospheric surveillance radar scans. Additionally, a selection of existing ecological radar image process-ing methods are overviewed. As a starting point, a basic algorithm for automated image processing is outlined that may be modified to create specialized workflows. Three examples of the application of this algorithm are included, illustrating its modification and use for automated feature extraction. 4. By outlining a basic algorithm, we hope to provide a clear starting point for the beginning radar user. When combined with additional existing methods, this algorithm provides a wide range of refinements and modifica-tions that can pave a path towards sophisticated radar processing workflows. In the long term, the ability of ecol-ogists to independently analyse radar data will lead to better ecological interpretation of radar data and a more informed application to conservation policy.
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    • "Today, researchers study the movements of organisms using a wide variety of types of radar fro m small marine units[5] [7], surplus military equip ment[8], fixed beam "entomological radars"[9] to broad-scale Weather Surveillance Radar (WSR) arrays[10]. Radar is a useful tool where direct observations of biological phenomena are challenging, such as at night or in fog[5]. The radar system consists of a Fu runo 1500 Mark 3 marine radar, dig itizing card (XIR3000B) fro m Russell Technologies and a PC. "
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    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e74129. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0074129 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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