Instant Detect

Instant Wild Kenya camera trap trial.

Instant Detect (ID) is a camera trap system that uses satellite technology so images can be sent in real-time from virtually anywhere in the world. It is being used to help tackle poaching of endangered species by providing an early warning system for rangers and for remote wildlife monitoring. 

ZSL has worked with a number of world-class technical partners to develop the ID system. The system utilises a range of evolving technologies and is adaptable depending on its conservation use.

It comprises not only camera traps but also seismic and magnetic ground sensors which are specifically designed to detect the presence of humans for anti-poaching operations. When activated, the cameras and ground sensors send information to a central satellite node which uses a Raspberry Pi computer to process the data. The images and sensor alerts are then sent over the Iridium satellite network in near real-time to a secure server to be accessed by individual users. 

Key features
•    Images and ground sensor alerts sent in near real time to the user
•    Deployment over long periods without requiring servicing
•    Components can be well hidden with camouflage or buried in the ground
•    Robust design to withstand extreme temperatures and environments
•    Secure data storage and encryption 
•    Camera settings can be changed remotely
•    Tactical deployment training available from partner Seven Technologies Group

For more information please complete the enquiry form.

Why Instant Detect was developed
Traditional camera traps save images on a local SD card to be retrieved when possible and/or send images via mobile networks to the user. However, the sites where we want to deploy camera traps are often very remote and difficult to reach with little or no mobile coverage. To overcome these challenges we needed a camera trap that could be deployed for long periods and send images wirelessly without having to rely on mobile networks. We also wanted a system that could provide a security network for protected areas to support rangers in their anti-poaching activities. This led to the development of the ID system – a covert and robust system which sends data instantly via satellite from virtually anywhere in the world.

Key Achievements & Goals
The ID system is using ground-breaking technology and is the first system that has multiple camera traps and ground sensors communicating with a central satellite node for instant data transfer. We have had successful deployments of the system in Antarctica for remote monitoring of an Adélie penguin colony and Kenya to help tackle poaching of rhinos and elephants partnering with the Kenya Wildlife Service. We are now working to roll the system out to other conservation sites around the world to help monitor and protect animals and their habitats. Our ultimate goal is for the ID system to significantly contribute to a reduction in animal poaching through increasing the apprehension of poachers and to dramatically improve the efficiency of remote wildlife monitoring. 

Google Global Impact Award
Instant Detect was funded by the Google Global Impact Award which we won in 2013.

Project Information

People Involved:

  • Sophie Maxwell, Programme Manager
  • Alasdair Davies, Technical Specialist
  • Emily Smith, Project Manager
  • Rachael Kemp, Projects Assistant 

General enquiry:

Partners and donors

Google Impact Challenge
Cambridge Consultants
Seven Technologies Group
Wireless Innovation
Kenya Wildlife Service