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An Evaluation of the Factors Affecting 'Poacher' Detection with Drones and the Efficacy of Machine-Learning for Detection.

Doull, KE, Chalmers, C, Fergus, P, Longmore, SN, Piel, AK and Wich, SA (2021) An Evaluation of the Factors Affecting 'Poacher' Detection with Drones and the Efficacy of Machine-Learning for Detection. Sensors, 21 (12). ISSN 1424-8220

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Drones are being increasingly used in conservation to tackle the illegal poaching of animals. An important aspect of using drones for this purpose is establishing the technological and the environmental factors that increase the chances of success when detecting poachers. Recent studies focused on investigating these factors, and this research builds upon this as well as exploring the efficacy of machine-learning for automated detection. In an experimental setting with voluntary test subjects, various factors were tested for their effect on detection probability: camera type (visible spectrum, RGB, and thermal infrared, TIR), time of day, camera angle, canopy density, and walking/stationary test subjects. The drone footage was analysed both manually by volunteers and through automated detection software. A generalised linear model with a logit link function was used to statistically analyse the data for both types of analysis. The findings concluded that using a TIR camera improved detection probability, particularly at dawn and with a 90° camera angle. An oblique angle was more effective during RGB flights, and walking/stationary test subjects did not influence detection with both cameras. Probability of detection decreased with increasing vegetation cover. Machine-learning software had a successful detection probability of 0.558, however, it produced nearly five times more false positives than manual analysis. Manual analysis, however, produced 2.5 times more false negatives than automated detection. Despite manual analysis producing more true positive detections than automated detection in this study, the automated software gives promising, successful results, and the advantages of automated methods over manual analysis make it a promising tool with the potential to be successfully incorporated into anti-poaching strategies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0301 Analytical Chemistry, 0805 Distributed Computing, 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering, 0502 Environmental Science and Management, 0602 Ecology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Art & Design
Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Computer Science & Mathematics
Publisher: MDPI
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2021 09:37
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 05:15
DOI or Identification number: 10.3390/s21124074
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15263

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