How to Use
An ArgusBio monitoring station can be used at various locations: coasts, bays, estuaries and rivers. The area that can be monitored by one station depends on the quality of the cameras, the required level of detail (i.e. the features under observation) and the height of the observation post. An ArgusBio station can be used for monitoring before, during and after construction activities, or for long-term monitoring.
Before a station is fully functional, the following steps need to be taken:
- Who wants to use the results, and for what? As data are scarce and monitoring expensive, there may be multiple users (possibly willing to co-finance the facility or to buy the data);
- Define the monitoring purpose and determine the spatial and temporal resolution accordingly: short/long-term, high/low spatial resolution (i.e. only morphology or also smaller biologic features), high/low temporal resolution;
- Determine whether a monitoring station provides more value than traditional monitoring; compare the expected costs and benefits of both options;
- Design a suitable structure (vibrations, durability, robustness, protection against vandalism, height for field of view) and select the equipment (resolution, durability, power consumption);
- Arrange permits for e.g. temporary structures, working in or near protected areas or shipping lanes, communication equipment;
- Set up a storage system (database) for the images;
- Test the functioning of the entire system at a land-based testing location, preferably for a longer period of time and under difficult conditions (does it have enough power? Do data connections and protocols work properly? Do the indicators for malfunctioning work properly? Can errors be corrected remotely?);
- Install the system in the field; take measurements for geo-referencing of images, position the sensors and cameras on the platform, test connections;
- Be ready to visit a couple of times for corrections; camera positions may have changed;
- Gather samples/data for validation of the camera observations, e.g. in-situ samples of diatoms and a traditional bird count from the station;
- Perform regular inspections and maintenance, 1-2x per year;
- Continuously analyse images to get results, and translate these results into understandable and meaningful information for the user(s).
After the desired operational period, which can range from several months to (possibly tens of) years, the station can be removed and be re-used at another location. Since ArgusBio is a modular system, specific components can be upgraded or added, depending on the requirements for the new location. As new equipment may cause a discontinuity in the dataset and is likely to require new calibration measurements, upgrades can best be combined with relocation, unless there is an urgent need. The life span of an ArgusBio station strongly depends on the quality and durability of its components, as well as the local weather conditions. With good protection against rain, salt spray, lightning and bird excreta, most electronic components will last several years. Heat, cold, moisture and sudden power shortages likely shorten the life span of these components as compared to regular indoor use.