An approach for filtering hyperbolically positioned underwater acoustic telemetry data with position precision estimates

Animal Biotelemetry

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Telemetry systems that estimate animal positions with hyperbolic positioning algorithms also provide a technology-specific estimate of position precision (e.g., horizontal position error (HPE) for the VEMCO positioning system). Position precision estimates (e.g., dilution of precision for a global positioning system (GPS)) have been used extensively to identify and remove positions with unacceptable measurement error in studies of terrestrial and surfacing aquatic animals such as turtles and seals. Few underwater acoustic telemetry studies report using position precision estimates to filter data in accordance with explicit data quality objectives because the relationship between the precision estimate and measurement error is not understood or not evaluated. A four-step filtering approach which incorporates data-filtering principles developed for GPS tracking of terrestrial animals is demonstrated. HPE was evaluated for its effectiveness to remove uncertain fish positions acquired from a new underwater fine-scale passive acoustic monitoring system.

Four filtering objectives were identified based on the need for three sequential future analyses and four data quality criteria were developed for evaluating the performance of individual filters (step 1). The unfiltered, baseline position confidence from known-position test tags was considered to determine if filtering was necessary (step 2). An HPE filter cutoff of 8 was selected to meet the four criteria (step 3), and it was determined that one analysis may need to be adjusted for use with this dataset. The data quality objectives, criteria, and filter selection rationale were reported (step 4).

The use of position precision estimates that reflect the confidence in the positioning process should be considered prior to the use of biological filters that rely on a priori expectations of the subject’s movement capacities and tendencies. Position confidence goals should be determined based upon the needs of the research questions and analysis requirements versus arbitrary selection, in which filters of previous studies are adopted. Data filtering with this approach ensures that data quality is sufficient for the selected analyses and presents the opportunity to adjust or identify a different analysis in the event that the requisite precision was not attained. Ignoring these steps puts a practitioner at risk of reporting errant findings.

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Journal Article
An approach for filtering hyperbolically positioned underwater acoustic telemetry data with position precision estimates
Series title:
Animal Biotelemetry
Year Published:
BioMed Central
Publisher location:
Contributing office(s):
Great Lakes Science Center
13 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Animal Biotelemetry