Using an electronic compass to determine telemetry azimuths

Wildlife Society Bulletin
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Researchers typically collect azimuths from known locations to estimate locations of radiomarked animals. Mobile, vehicle-mounted telemetry receiving systems frequently are used to gather azimuth data. Use of mobile systems typically involves estimating the vehicle's orientation to grid north (vehicle azimuth), recording an azimuth to the transmitter relative to the vehicle azimuth from a fixed rosette around the antenna mast (relative azimuth), and subsequently calculating an azimuth to the transmitter (animal azimuth). We incorporated electronic compasses into standard null-peak antenna systems by mounting the compass sensors atop the antenna masts and evaluated the precision of this configuration. This system increased efficiency by eliminating vehicle orientation and calculations to determine animal azimuths and produced estimates of precision (azimuth SD=2.6 deg., SE=0.16 deg.) similar to systems that required orienting the mobile system to grid north. Using an electronic compass increased efficiency without sacrificing precision and should produce more accurate estimates of locations when marked animals are moving or when vehicle orientation is problematic.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Using an electronic compass to determine telemetry azimuths
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Volume 30
Issue 4
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Wildlife Society Bulletin
First page 1039
Last page 1043