SRSnet: a network of smart, sun-powered sensors helps national park managers

A cross-border cooperation project has developed a multi-sensor network that can detect autonomously the movement patterns of visitors and animals in the Hohe Tauern National Park. Innovative technologies allow for its use in remote areas.

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A sensor developed by the SRSnet project. A sensor developed by the SRSnet project.

" The project was very successful and was recognized as a Best Practice Project. The ERDF support contributed significantly to the implementation and success of the project. "

Dr. Andreas Kercek, Research manager, Lakeside Labs

The network of smart audio and video sensors can be used for a variety of tasks, from counting visitors and mapping their movements within a certain area, to observing the behaviour of animals in the wild and detecting unusual events. National park managers use the obtained data to improve the planning of visitor movements, for example through modifications in the signage. Thus, the project contributes both to the preservation of the park, and to achieving a better experience for the local population and for tourists.

A system adapted to difficult conditions

A key challenge for the project developers was to design a system that would be fully functioning in remote regions with limited infrastructure and no external power source. Instead of relying on batteries that have to be regularly replaced, the researchers opted for a solar-powered system. An energy-saving communications network was developed to connect the cameras and other sensors to a central database, where data is collected and made available to the users.

This was only possible thanks to the combination of expertise of the different partners. While Lakeside Labs, in cooperation with the Alpe-Adria University Klagenfurt, developed concepts and technology for self-organising networked systems, the Italian company Eye-Tech provided the software solutions for the cameras and sensors themselves, enabling targets to be identified, classified, and tracked automatically. InfoFACTORY, a spinoff company of the University of Udine, designed the archive and database used to store and analyse the collected information.

Research success

First practical tests in the Hohe Tauern National Park were successful. The project results were published in around 20 articles in high-level journals, and presented at conferences. SRSnet was also recognised with the Best Practice Awards of the Italy-Austria Interreg IV programme. Its sustainability is ensured by the system’s wide range of possible uses.

The project generated 2 new research jobs and contributed to securing jobs with all project partners.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “SRSnet – Smart resource-aware multi-sensor network” is EUR 892 700, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 521 500 through the “INTERREG IV A Italy – Austria” Operational Programme, for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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