Movement: New Sensors, New Data, New Challenges

21 - 25 August 2017

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

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Movement data today are collected through tracking technologies, such as GPS, mobile phone positioning, and presence-based sensors (e.g. RFID, WLAN or Bluetooth). These technologies are constantly evolving, which has led to an explosion in the availability of movement data in many disciplines. One of these is movement ecology, which has a long tradition of investigating animal movement. Understanding how animals move is important for understanding how individuals and groups compete for resources and interact, both of which are essential elements of the evolutionary processes.

Movement data are conceptually similar in movement ecology and in various data sciences which specialise in development of methods for analysis and visualisation of spatio-temporal data. The recognition of this conceptual similarity and the consequent possibility for interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and data scientists led to the first Lorentz workshop on “Analysis and Visualization of Moving Objects” in 2011. However, over the last six years, the advances in movement data acquisition have continued to develop at a fast rate and new tracking technologies are appearing all the time. Ecological trackers are being downsized, allowing data collection on thousands of new small species, such as birds and small mammals, that have until recently been untrackable due to their size. New satellite technologies are being deployed, such as the new GNS Systems (Galileo and Beidou) and the new satellite tracking system ICARUS (International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space). Animal tags link into Internet of Things and talk to each other by recording proximity to another individual. A number of different sensors are being co-located on new tags, including accelerometers, gyroscopes, thermometers, magnetometers, oceanographic sensors and physiological sensors, providing information on both the state of the individual animal and the state of the environment through which the individual moves. All these new sensors create new data, which are complex, big and messy and require new analytical approaches. There is therefore a critical need for new data science methods for movement which will be both informed by data science expertise but also able to deal with these complex new data from a perspective informed by the ecological knowledge.

This workshop will bring together researchers from movement ecology and from data sciences which specialise in analysis and visualisation of movement data (GIScience, theoretical computer science, information visualisation and visual analytics, spatio-temporal data mining and knowledge discovery). The aim is to find answers to contemporary data challenges in movement ecology and at the same time establish an interdisciplinary knowledge transfer between ecology and data sciences. The workshop will consists of a number of activities:  1) keynote addresses by prominent researchers at the cutting edge of both movement ecology and data sciences, 2) hands-on data challenges, where participants will directly work with new movement data provided by the organisers and/or by other participants, 3) a development of the research agenda for new movement data and 4) a dedicated poster exhibition and advising session for the Early-Career Researchers (PhD students and junior postdoctoral researchers). In order to support a wide participation of ECRs we are organising an international competition, which is open to any ECR interested in ecology or data science.


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