Interactive map on the web shows migration routes of GPS equipped eagles and storks
Text: Urmas Sellis, Kotkaklubi
Estonian Eagle Club (Kotkaklubi) has launched an interactive map application making it possible to follow the paths of birds with transmitters on Internet. The routes of altogether 28 birds on their spring and autumn migrations and in their wintering areas are shown, from 2005 onwards. Since Google Maps are used for the background maps, users can move in the maps both horizontally and vertically, that is, not only move between geographic areas but also zoom in at will to see for instance in which forest copse an eagle spent the night
The Eagle Club has been asked for more information about the transmitter-carrying birds hundreds of times during the last four years. The online map makes it possible for all to find this information for themselves. On the migration map it is for instance possible to choose an interesting bird (such as black stork Raivo) and see its migration routes in autumn and in spring, and whether the routes have differed over the years. The movements of the birds in the wintering areas can also be observed. Only the locations of the birds during the breeding season will not be shown.
Users can switch between English and Estonian versions. There are also descriptions of the displayed bird species, information about the individual birds, and photos of most of the tagged birds. A migration route can be visualised as a trace on the map, or by starting an animation and watching it as a race between the breeding and wintering areas. For a detailed study the movements of the birds can be traced back and forth in time, in steps of days or weeks.
Data for the individual birds on the map are updated every 3-10 days, depending on how the specific transmitters are programmed. In winter new data will arrive at longer intervals, in summer more frequently. During the migration season the map will in practice be renewed daily, since the programming differs for the individual birds
The Internet page also has a news column for information about important and interesting events.
The migration map has been constructed by IT enterprise 5D Vision, with support from the Estonian Environmental Board. The greater part of the project has been carried out as voluntary work by many people. Contributions to the acquisition of transmitters and their running have been provided by the European Union, the Environmental Board, University of Tartu, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Centre for State Forest Management (RMK), Eesti Põlevkivi AS, KIK, Estonian Ornithological Society and many others. Mrs. Thea Asmus has played an important part in obtaining the photos used.
Links to the map are on
Kotkaklubi (Eagle Club) web - www.kotkas.ee
Looduskalender site - www.looduskalender.ee
or directly - http://birdmap.5dvision.ee/