No need to fiddle with hand-drawn maps or sit in a room typing catch numbers into a spreadsheet – there’s plenty of Kiwi-made software to help you quickly map and monitor all your traps and traplines.
Location-tracking software usually involves GPS (Global Positioning System) – meaning satellites pinpoint the exact location of an object, such as a trap or a building. Most smartphones automatically include GPS capability, so group members can easily add catch numbers or other trap details from their phones.
Using location tracking takes a lot of the work out of mapping and creates an online record. You can then monitor results and share them by automatically exporting graphs and reports. Online tracking not only provides accurate local catch records, but can be used nationwide to reveal the ‘bigger picture’ of biodiversity patterns across NZ.
Below are some examples of free tracking software available for community groups. The table offers a quick overview, with more details and app download links for each option further down the page.
|Trap.nz||CatchIt||Walk the Line||EcoTrack||The Urban Rat Project|
|Who||GroundTruth Ltd||University of Auckland||DOC (supported by Whio Forever and Genesis Energy)||EcoTrack||Michael Fielding supported by EcoTrack and Auckland Council|
|Features (in addition to recording trap data)||- Create a new project or join an existing one |
- Record and sort catches by species
- Export graphs and maps
- View nationwide data
|- Interactive graphics including heatmaps and animations|
- Also stores data from lures and bait lines
- Import spreadsheets with historical data
- Add custom fields and edit metadata (e.g. rename traps)
|- Link locations to nearby traps|
- Can work offline
- Supports 40+ trap types
|- Track predator control and weed control|
- Perform 5 minute bird counts
- Group managers can coordinate activities
|- Send out automated trap check reminders
- Tips and news (targeted by street/postcode) can also be sent to trappers
- Backyard trappers can quickly report their catches
- Applies to all predator types (not just rats)
|Support||Forums, help pages and contact page||Online tutorials and email contact||Email contact to join (see below); demo videos and a user’s guide||Help pages and contact page||FAQs and contact page|
|App/web||iOS and Android apps and web||Web only||Android app and web (accessed after signing up)||iOS and Android apps||No app, but a responsive website that works across devices|
Trap.nz allows you to record and monitor your trapping and baiting. It includes a free app for both iOS and Android devices, so you can use it offline while out in the field with your smartphone and then sync to the website when you’re back online. You can either create your own project or request to join an existing one. You can also sort results by species.
Generating reports, graphs and maps will help you understand which traps are most effective, and which areas need more work. You can also share them to update your group or community on social media, and/or use them as part of funding applications or for project reports.
CatchIT offers data management and analysis for community pest control projects. The software was developed by the University of Auckland and they store data from traplines, bait lines, tracking tunnels, and from wax tags and other lures. Group volunteers or admin can sign in and enter their catches to the online database, and also upload historical trapping records via Excel spreadsheets.
CatchIT provides a suite of maps, graphics, animations, and analyses to display trapping results and bait uptake. More about the project, including instructions, example graphics and demo videos, can be found on their website.
Walk the Line
Walk the Line is DOC’s trapping app for Android, available for download on Google Play. It’s useful for capturing trap data and should be paired with DOC’s Trapping web app. Login approval is required before use; email email@example.com to find out more.
With the EcoTrack app you can monitor your predator control and weed control activities. EcoTrack stores data from conservation groups nationwide (but not your personal data), which means there is a record of work being carried out across NZ.
At an individual level, group members can install the app and record locations of target species. Group leaders can coordinate activities and track data.
The Urban Rat Project helps to engage community groups and backyard trappers. Group leaders can send automatic trap-check reminders and households can quickly report their catches from any device.
The reminders can include neighbourhood stats – e.g. a user’s ‘ranking’ and how many rats have been caught in their street or postcode. Reminder messages can also include predator control tips.
The Urban Rat Project system works for all predators, not just rats. There is no app, but the website is smartphone-friendly and works well on all devices.