Intelligent Wildlife Tracking Using Ubiquitous Technological Suite

  • Mayur Sunil Jawalkar
    Savitribai Phule Pune University, India
  • Nayan Desale
    Savitribai Phule Pune University, India
  • Fanil Suratwala
    Savitribai Phule Pune University, India
  • Amol Lamkhade
    Savitribai Phule Pune University, India
  • Parikshit N. Mahalle
    Savitribai Phule Pune University, India
  • Poonam N. Railkar
    Savitribai Phule Pune University, India


This paper proposes an intelligent system to track location of an individual animal or animals in wildlife sanctuary. Existing systems makes use of various technologies such as RFID, GPS, GSM, etc. RFID based systems either lack in range if passive tags are used or lack in cost effectiveness if active tags are used. Similarly, GSM based system becomes costlier and requires constant network connectivity. Hence this paper proposes a Wi-Fi based tracking system. Proposed system makes use of ubiquitous technology which encourages the use of Wi-Fi Transceivers. The Stationary Wi-Fi Transceiver consists of ESP8266 NodeMCU development board which detects the Mobile Transceiver. The Mobile Transceiver consists of ESP8266 NodeMCU attached to animals. The Stationary Wi-Fi transceiver detects Mobile Transceivers under its vicinity and sends the data to other Stationary transceiver through hop based transmission and ultimately the data is stored in the database. The mobile application accesses the location information from the database for particular animal and plots it onto the Map. This paper comprises of system architecture, proposed algorithm and mathematical model.


With the growth in human society wildlife is marching towards danger. But for ecological balance every living creature is equally important. Hence humans are taking efforts to keep animals safe in forests under our constant observations by creating wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, etc. By the passing years lots of humans are curious about exploring such places to observe wild animals. But the main problem is to locate wild animals in wildlife sanctuaries. Animals are not always located at same place. They keep moving across the jungle. Thus, practically visitors may not be able to observe an intended animal within acceptable time. Hence wildlife tracking system turns out to be beneficial in order to conveniently observe and monitor wild animals.

Considering the need for wildlife tracking, this paper proposes an intelligent system to track wild animals’ location using ubiquitous technology. This system makes use of Wi-Fi technology. Stationary Wi-Fi modules are distributed all over across the jungle. Animals are equipped with Wi-Fi transceivers. These transceivers are detected by stationary Wi-Fi modules. Then the location information of every animal is transmitted to the base station by all stationary Wi-Fi modules. The transmission is done through flooding protocol. The final Wi-Fi transceiver will send complete data to the database server. The database server takes care of updating the location of the animals. Now whenever user requests for location of any animal, server responds with the location information available in the database. The location coordinates get plotted onto the map. Hence the user is able to locate the animals with ease. Thus, proposed system will be convenient for visitors, scientific researchers or conservation agencies to track location of an intended animal in wildlife sanctuary.

The term ubiquitous technology can be defined as: “Ubiquitous computing is a concept where computing is made to appear everywhere using any device, in any location and in any format” (Meshram et al., 2016).

In this paper, section 2 focus on motivation of the paper. Section 3 explains the idea of the system in detail. Section 4 gives abstract information about related papers. All possible methodologies are elaborated in section 5. Section 6 and section 7 provides detailed information about the proposed system architecture and algorithm. Data structures used in these algorithms are mentioned in section 8. Section 9 represents complete system into mathematical model. Flow of the system with the help of sequence diagram is explained in section 10. Section 11 and 12 elaborates about resources, tools and techniques which can be used for implementation of proposed system. Section 13 gives brief idea about estimated cost of system implementation. Verification and validation of system is explained in section 14. Consequently section 15 and 16 deals with features and constrains of the proposed system. Section 17 briefs about future scope and conclusion of the system.


The motive behind this idea is to design a system that covers maximum flaws of the existing systems in regards of the efficiency, power consumption, weight, range factors, low maintenance as well as cost effectiveness. The existing systems makes use of GPS or GSM technologies. Also, some systems are implemented with RFID technologies. But few flaws are observed while thinking of these systems. GPS-GSM based system requires constant network connectivity which increase the power consumption of the system. Such kind of functionality requires heavy hardware which increases the weight of the device mounted on animals. It also increases the cost of the system. Some systems make use of GSM network to transmit the GPS coordinates. These systems are weather dependent which fails to track the location of animals in harsh environment. GPS based systems requires considerable field efforts. Systems based on RFID based transmissions have low range and requires line of sight which is again impractical to use in sanctuaries. One major flaw can be enlisted as lack of user friendly application to track animals. Also, many existing systems lack in efficient data retrievals. Hence to overcome all these flaws this paper proposes an intelligent system to track wildlife animals.


Now-a-days people are interested in observing wildlife. But animals are not always located at fixed locations. It is really a challenging task to find out the exact location of every animal. Hence this paper proposes a system that gives dynamic location of every animal in the sanctuary so that visitor always gets a chance to visit the animals of his/her choice. Goal behind this proposal is to design an intelligent system to track wildlife animals’ location using Ubiquitous Technological Suite which will help individuals (tourists, scientific researchers or conservation agencies) who are interested in effectively observing wildlife animals.

Some Goals of the system include the following:

  • 1. Network Establishment with maximum critical range;
  • 2. Design algorithm for data collection;
  • 3. Design an interface for efficient data retrieval.

Scope of the Project Idea

The proposed system will manage the process of tracking the locations of the animals present in the sanctuary and store them in the central database. It will also let users search for a particular animal(s) and get the location plotted on map on the respective application. The stationary modules will take care of registering the mobile modules coming under its vicinity and forwarding it to other stationary modules through hop based transmissions. This data consists of MAC address of the respective Wi-Fi Transceiver which is used to locate that particular animal. Scope also concerns about providing efficient, low maintenance, low power consumption, cost effective and user friendly application to the users.


The purpose of the paper (Kim et al., 2010) is to present a comprehensive review of the recent literature on sensor networks especially in Animal Tracking. Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have gained worldwide attention in recent years in several applications (Nair et al., 2011; Dey et al., 2012a; 2012b; 2012c; Kumar, & Nagarajan, 2013; Graham et al., 2013; Chakraborty et al., 2015; Binh et al., 2016; Sawlikar et al., 2016; Mukherjee et al., 2016). Particularly, with the proliferation in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology which has facilitated the development of smart sensors. An intelligent animal situation tracking service for zoological gardens, based on GPS, RFID, and sensors is proposed in paper (Jukan et al., 2016). As per paper (Markham, 2008) the notion of animal welfare is used in broad terms, to review the technologies for assessing whether animals are healthy, free of pain and suffering, and also positively stimulated in their environment. Also, the notion of smart computing and sensing is used in broad terms, to refer to computing and sensing systems that are not isolated but interconnected with communication networks, and capable of remote data collection, processing, exchange and analysis. The paper (Khan et al., 2012) is motivated by the diversity of animals, a hybrid wildlife tracking system, Eco Locate, is proposed, with lightweight VHF-like tags and high performance GPS enabled tags, bound by a common wireless network design. Paper (Mustafa et al., 2013) states that the use of GSM and GPS technologies allows the system to track object and provides the most up-to-date information about ongoing trips. According to paper (Sasikumar et al., 2014) WSN’s are a very good tool to overcome accessibility of semi-domestic animals under harsh weather conditions and it is also an important tool that provides useful information about animals’ activities.

The Table 1 summarizes the detailed information present in the referenced papers. The following points are used for discernment purpose:

  • Paper Name: Name of the proposed Papers which are referred during the survey;
  • Algorithms Used: Algorithms used in the system;
  • Overall System Cost: Cost of the Complete System including installation and maintenance cost;
  • Technologies Used: Technologies proposed in the paper to build the system;
  • Limitations: Certain disadvantages of the system;
  • Accuracy: Speed or efficiency in calculating the location details and computation tasks;
  • Feasibility: How feasible or convenient the system is;
  • Average System Life: Life of the proposed system excluding battery life which will be taken care during system maintenance.

Table 1. Evaluation of related work

Sr. No. Paper Name Algorithm Used Overall System Cost Technology Used Limitations Accuracy Feasibility Average System Life (Excluding Battery Life)
(Kim et al., 2010) Animal Situation Tracking Service Using RFID, GPS, and Sensors. Sensors and Ad-hoc network High RFID, GPS Inefficient in Low temperatures, Maintenance Cost Highly Accurate Enough resources, Low failure rates 5-10 years.
(Jukan et al., 2016) Smart Computing and Sensing Technologies for Animal Welfare. WSN routing algorithms, machine learning algorithms. Less RFID Tags and RFID Readers Low range, require line of sight Less Accurate Better for short distance tracking and animal identification 8-10 years.
(Markham, 2008) On a Wildlife Tracking and Telemetry System. Localization algorithms Less Heterogeneous Networks, MEMS Reed Sensor Accessibility, Danger of animal might eat or destroy the equipment Accurate System produces expedite results. 3-6 years.
(Khan et al., 2012) GPS GSM Based Tracking System. User Defined Moderate GSM, Tracking unit aka GPS, tele monitoring system Battery Durability Accurate Better for large sanctuaries. Adequate number of subjects 10-12 years.
(Mustafa et al., 2013) Animal Sensor Networks. Localization Algorithms High GSM, GPRS, Wi-Fi enabled RFID’s Logistics cost, Continuous need for calibration Highly Accurate Better for large sanctuaries, Low failure rates. 6-10 years.
(Sasikumar et al., 2014) An Analysis on Animal Tracking System using Wireless Sensors Optimized Recovery algorithm Moderate Analog sensing, MEMS Limited processing and computing resource Accurate Manageable, Affordable in time and money 2-5 years.


Primary Method

The system is based on effective communication between:

  • 1. Mobile transceiver to Stationary Transceiver;
  • 2. One Stationary Transceiver to another Stationary Transceiver;
  • 3. Final Stationary Transceiver to Database;
  • 4. Database to Mobile Application.

These communications must be synchronized and efficient:

  • • Initially, the stationary module continuously scan for mobile modules by broadcasting the REQUEST message;
  • • When an animal comes in vicinity of stationary module, it answers this REQUEST message by sending RESPONSE message consisting of its MAC address;
  • • All these received MAC addresses are transferred to the nearest stationary module using Nearest Neighbour routing protocols. It is repeated for all animals in vicinity;
  • • The second stationary module combines its own vicinity information with the received information;
  • • This process is repeated until the data reaches the database where all the location coordinates of animals are updated;
  • • Lastly, the mobile user accesses the coordinates of the animals through android application which gets plotted onto the map.

Secondary Method

This method replaces the ESP8266 NodeMCU with following devices:

  • • ESP 8266 Wi-Fi module;
  • • Microcontroller Arduino ATMEGA328/ATMEGA2560;
  • • Voltage Regulator LD1117.

Now, for the stationary part we will require to integrate ESP8266 Wi-Fi module with Arduino board and voltage regulator mounted on PIC Controller. The mobile part will only involve ESP8266 Wi-Fi module equipped with battery.

The primary method is more feasible and practical to use. Hence the system is proposed based on this method.


In this proposed system, Wi-Fi transceivers are used for communication purpose. Figure 1 shows the architecture of proposed wildlife tracking system. In this system, stationary Wi-Fi modules i.e. ESP8266 NodeMCU are placed at fixed locations such as trees or rocks whichever is feasible. The location of every stationary module will be known right from the time of system installation. Therefore, system can effectively avoid the use of GPS devices. The stationary modules consist of Wi-Fi transceiver ESP8266 NodeMCU and batteries on a small chip. Animals are equipped with ESP8266 NodeMCU devices we can call them as “tags”. These Wi-Fi tags are nothing but battery powered Wi-Fi transceivers. This paper proposes a system with the use of ESP-8266 as Wi-Fi transceiver and Arduino board as microcontroller together forming ESP8266 NodeMCU. Hence in further reference we are calling the stationary modules as ‘ESP-Arduino modules’ and Wi-Fi tags attached to animals as ‘mobile ESP modules’. ESP-Arduino module is responsible for tracking animals in its vicinity. These modules are enabled to identify animals in its vicinity by communicating with mobile ESP modules attached to animals. Communication between ESP-Arduino module and mobile ESP module takes place by the simple handshaking protocol. Multiple ESP-Arduino modules communicate with each other to transmit the location information of an identified animal to the central database server. Database server maintains location information of all animals in the jungle. Every individual who wants to observe wildlife is given a mobile application. This application communicates with database server to get the location of intended animal which user wants to observe. After getting locations of individual animals they are plotted on the map to make it easier for user to locate intended animals.

Figure 1. System architecture


The algorithm works in two phases:

  • • Data Collection phase;
  • • Data transfer phase.

Overall System Algorithm

Steps followed by algorithm are as follows:

  • 1. The ESP module combined with Arduino board acts as the central Wi-Fi transmitter and receiver which is kept stationary on trees. The other ESP module which is placed on animal’s skin is mobile which consist of unique MAC address which is used to identify the animal in the sanctuary;
  • 2. In data collection phase, as shown in Figure 2 the stationary Arduino module scans for mobile ESP modules placed on animals by broadcasting the REQUEST message using its ESP module transmitter;
  • 3. This broadcasted message consists of MAC address of stationary ESP-Arduino module. The data collection is done on specific interval to lower the power consumption. When an animal in vicinity receives the broadcasted REQUEST message of stationary ESP-module, then the ESP module of that animal forms a packet consisting of its own MAC address as source address and the MAC address of broadcaster which was received earlier as destination address. This packet is considered as RESPONSE message. All animals in vicinity will follow the same step as given above and transmits their MAC addresses to their stationary ESP-Arduino module. These MAC-addresses act as unique identifier to identify which animal it is;
  • 4. These stationary ESP modules store these MAC addresses into the Arduino Uno’s memory. Each stationary ESP-Arduino module has also a MAC address but this MAC-address is used to identify that area. This area along with the animals wandering around the area is identified later using MAC addresses and GPS-coordinates;
  • 5. All these stored MAC addresses are then transferred to all the nearest stationary ESP-Arduino modules as shown in Figure 3 to carry out the flooding protocol of WSN;
  • 6. Each nearest ESP-Arduino module will then combine their own MAC addresses received from their animals in vicinity with the received MAC addresses data;
  • 7. These stationary ESP-Arduino modules flood the network with the MAC addresses until it eventually reaches to the base station;
  • 8. Once the data reached to the base station, it is stored into the database. The MAC addresses of stationary ESP-Arduino module are mapped to their respective GPS co-ordinates which were assigned at the time of setting up the system;
  • 9. The tourists or visitors of the sanctuaries are provided with the smart tabs or phones with the animal tracking app;
  • 10. This app connects to the base station database to obtain the MAC addresses of the stationary-ESP module and mobile ESP modules as shown in Figure 4 to identify the area and the animals wandering in that area and uses the GPS co-ordinates to track the area on Google’s map;
  • 11. The base station running Glassfish server gets the request from the client’s app and then search for the MAC addresses of the stationary ESP-Arduino modules in which the requested animal is present;
  • 12. Once the server finds the MAC addresses of the stationary modules then it uses these MAC addresses to find the latitude and longitude of those stationary ESP-Arduino modules in the Coordinate table by using MAC addresses as foreign key;
  • 13. The server then forms a response message consist of the latitude and longitude of the stationary ESP-Arduino modules around which the animals are wandering. And sends this response message to the client;
  • 14. The client then passes these Latitude and Longitude values to the Google’s Map API which then converts these values into the Location in the MAP and displays that MAP on the container.

Figure 2. Stationary module – Mobile module communication

Figure 3. Stationary module – Stationary module communication

Figure 4. Data collection at database

Pseudo Code for Server

  • 1. Create socket using socket();
  • 2. Bind socket on port number 80;
  • 3.

    Connect the socket to the end stationary NodeMCU using:


  • 4. Send the request to the NodeMCU using socket.send();
  • 5. Get the file consisting of MAC addresses of all animals and stationary modules;
  • 6. Save the file on local disk and extract the MAC addresses of all NodeMCUs and store them into the database;
  • 7. Send these MAC addresses and their locations to the client upon request.

Pseudo Code for Stationary Object

  • 1. Set the mode to wifi.STATIONAP using wifi.setmode(wifi.STATIONAP);
  • 2.

    Set the SSID (Service Set Identifier) and password:


  • 3.

    Create TCP server using:


  • 4. Listen to port 80 using net.listen(80);
  • 5.

    Create an event which will be executed when connection is stablished:

    conn:on(“receive”, function() ())

  • 6. Receive the connection request from mobile NodeMCU;
  • 7. Receive the MAC address of the mobile NodeMCU;
  • 8. Create or open file if already exists and store the MAC address into it;
  • 9. Find the nearest stationary module using RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) and send the file to it.

Pseudo Code for Mobile Wi-Fi Station

  • 1. Set the mode to wifi.STATION using wifi.setmode(wifi.STATION);
  • 2. Find the list of access points using wifi.ap.getlist();
  • 3. Get the strength of all access points using RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator);
  • 4. Find the minimum value of RSSI;
  • 5. Connect to the access point using the BSSID (Basic Service Set Identification) and password;
  • 6. Send the MAC address of the Station using conn:send() method.

Time Complexity

Time complexity of proposed system will be:

O (n + p)


n = number of neighboring nodes of the central ESP-Arduino module

p = number of intermediate nodes between the stationary module and base station through which packet traverse



Basically, the ESP-Arduino modules are programmed with the LUA programming language. Hence, we need to use the data structures and libraries provided by LUA language only. The Table is an abstract data type available in LUA language.

The Table data structure comprises auxiliary functions to manipulate tables as arrays. In algorithm, the stationary ESP-Arduino module transmits its information in the form of Table to another module. This Table in Table 2 consists of two fields the and MAC address.

Table 2. Table structure

Sr. No. MAC Address

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Jan 16, 2020 | Posted by in GENERAL | Comments Off on Intelligent Wildlife Tracking Using Ubiquitous Technological Suite
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