Goniometer

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Thomas Gray joined the Argos team in 2016 and has quickly become our go-to person on all things Goniometer.

He brings ten years of sales and marketing experience in the underwater tech realm previously working for an Argos satellite tag manufacturer. Some of Thomas’ favorite activities include snorkeling with whale sharks, “nadando en cenotes”, assisting in customer tagging operations and educating customers about our Products & Services. 

Based on his trips out onto the field with you and your valuable feedback he gives us his top three tips to using your goniometer efficiently.

 

Argos goniometer picto1. Elevate the Antenna as high as practically possible

The Goniometer’s ability to receive messages can be greatly enhanced simply by increasing the height of the antenna. You may have been wondering why the antenna cable is so long; this is why. Without going into great detail how Argos signal propagation works, just understand the importance of line of sight. For the Goniometer to receive a message it must be able to “see” (hear) the transmitter, and as you can imagine, its ability to see the transmitter increases as the height of the antenna increases (those are its eyes, or ears in this case). For example, a 7 foot tall person will see further in a crowd than a 4 foot tall person…the same logic applies here. The antenna can be mounted to the metal holder which can then be mounted to a pole to help elevate the antenna.

 

location picto

2. Start the search process at the last known Argos location.

I know that this sounds like a very simple tip or recommendation, and it is, but it works. Most Goniometer users report recovery times between one and three hours with three hours being primarily due to environmental conditions (on a boat…in the ocean, for example). These users all follow the simple tip – they started their search at the last known Argos location. Unless you are actively tracking and estimating the future location of the tagged animal, starting your search at the last Argos location is best practice. In addition, it helps to filter the location classes if possible

What are location classes?

 

goniometer settings picto3. Ensure that the settings on the Goniometer are set properly

We have only heard of a few unsuccessful tag recoveries, and it is usually one of two reasons. Either the individual forgot to check the tags’ duty cycling (the Goniometer only works with the Argos signal, so the tag has to be transmitting) or there was an incorrect setting on the Goniometer itself. The first thing you should check when you go into the field are the Goniometer’s settings (just in case / peace of mind). Once you access the settings screen (indicated by the wrench symbol), you should notice that there are two pages, and you will want to navigate to the second page of the settings. Confirm that both the “Direction Mode” and “Antenna Mode” settings say “Gonio” and not “Direct Reception.” The Direct Reception mode only works with GPS-enabled tags where CLS has the decoding scheme from the manufacturer. If you are unsure, please either check with the manufacturer or with us.

Get more information about the Goniometer

 

An eel in the sea with a pop-up tag

10.05.2022 Marine animals tracking How many Mediterranean migrating eels are eaten on their way to the Atlantic?

Analysis of migrating eels’ tracks can provide with estimate of the rate of predation on them. It seems that half of the migrating silver eels released on the French Mediterranean coast can be consumed by marine mammals before reaching the Gibraltar Straight. Assessing such natural threats to an…
An arctic hare with an Argos PTT

20.04.2022 Terrestrial mammals tracking Are the Arctic hares migrating?

A number of animals are migratory. The hares do not leap to mind when listing migrating animals. However, satellite telemetry confirms arctic hares very probably migrate in Northern Canadian Arctic. A lot of questions have still to be answered on these potential migrations.   Photo: An arctic…
A loggerhead turtle being released with an Argos PTT

14.04.2022 Marine animals tracking Turtles in the Bay of Biscay

Juvenile sea turtles are cared and rehabilitated at Aquarium La Rochelle, in France. Since 2008, a few of them were equipped with Argos PTTs before being released. Analysis of their tracks could help understand if they were trapped in a nutrient-rich but cold in winter Bay of Biscay,…
a red kite

31.03.2022 Birds tracking Red Kites wintering in Spain

Red kites are medium-sized partially migratory raptor. They often winter in Spain, but their behaviour there and during those non-breeding periods have not been extensively studied using satellite telemetry. A team used PTTs to understand better this season for those raptors, and consider what will become of them…
king penguins

14.03.2022 Birds tracking A new king penguin colony in Magellan Strait?

King penguins are living around Antarctica, breeding on some of the sub-Antarctic islands. A new colony seems to have been established in Magellan strait, showing the high plasticity of the species. Argos enables to better understand the new colony behaviour. Photo: four study king penguins in different positions…
whales

02.03.2022 Marine animals tracking Identifying whale migration routes in the global oceans

WWF has just published a report using 30 years of tracking for a meta-analysis of whale migration routes over all the oceans. This map of “migration highways” should help in protecting whales in general, but also the whole oceanic ecosystem, since they are a key species in its…
A juvenile black-tailed godwit

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Tracking a European shorebird called the Black-tailed godwit (Limosa l. limosa) has previously revealed that different populations of godwits have different migratory behaviours (see Black-tailed godwits’ different migration behaviours). Those findings also hinted that inexperience or lack of shared experience might be the cause behind…
a sea turtle with an Argos PTT

02.02.2022 Animal tracking applications Sea turtles in tropical cyclones

Collecting sea turtle-borne temperature and depth sensor data with Argos satellite telemetry tags helps to sample the first 100 m layer of tropical oceans, where tropical storms and cyclones take their energy. It also enables to understand the behaviour of sea turtles trapped in extreme events such as…
A ringed seal equipped with a data logger

31.01.2022 Marine animals tracking Ringed seals in a Svalbard lagoon

Ringed seals are dependent on sea ice. Throughout the Arctic, including around the Svalbard Archipelago, sea ice is declining rapidly, thus threatening these seals. Their use of a coastal lagoon was studied over several seasons using Argos satellite telemetry, to examine if this kind of habitat could constitute…
great knot with a tag

25.01.2022 Animal tracking applications The Hong Kong Bird watching society shares their experience with Argos to help understand migration routes and stopover sites of the Great Knot

The Great Knot is an endangered shorebird and a long-distance migrant. Its activity was found to be mainly along the coast and was suspected to have few stopovers; while juveniles were recorded moving approximately 3,000 km within ten days (Tomkovich, 1997). While we know the Great Knot lives…
A far eastern curlew with an Argos PTT

17.01.2022 Birds tracking Full annual cycle tracking helps to explain differences in population trends of far eastern curlew

The far eastern curlew is a large shorebird, migrating between Australia and far-east Asia. Some of its populations are more endangered than others. Understanding why this might be is helped by satellite telemetry, including Argos techniques.   Photo: A far eastern curlew with an Argos PTT (the antenna…
a polar bear with a satellite telemetry collar

06.01.2022 Animal tracking applications Polar bears tracked for more than 30 years in the Beaufort Sea

Polar bear’s foraging success is dependent on the presence of sea ice.  Arctic sea ice, however, is rapidly decreasing in extent and thickness, and summer open-water periods are lengthening. As polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea have been tracked using satellite telemetry for more than 30 years,…
A pod of beluga whales in the Pacific

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Argos can help in understanding an endangered species behavior, by providing with locations but also collecting other data measured by a wide range of possible sensors. Some populations of beluga whales in Alaska were studied combining Argos, sound recorders and stomach temperature transmitters to pinpoint their echolocation sounds…
Young (“Oceanic stage”) green sea turtle released with solar-powered satellite tag in Sargassum habitat. (credit: Gustavo Stahelin, UCF MTRG; Permit number NMFS-19508)

29.11.2021 Animal tracking applications Very young green turtles go into the Sargasso Sea

The life of young (“lost years”) marine turtles had long been a mystery. Improvements in satellite telemetry now enable to unveil part of it. North Atlantic young green turtles, in particular, seem to actively favor the Sargasso Sea and its natural accumulation of Sargassum algae. Photo: Young…
a blue-winged teal with an Argos PTT

17.11.2021 Animal tracking applications Tracking blue-winged teals, an avian influenza host

Wild migratory waterfowl such as blue-winged teals are known host of avian influenza. They can contaminate poultry which in turn develop highly contagious poultry diseases, some rare times affecting human population. Being able to monitor more closely the poultry when at risk is thus of foremost importance.
Argentinian researchers prepare to release a tagged franciscana

02.11.2021 Animal tracking applications Franciscana dolphins are staying close to home

Franciscana dolphins are small cetaceans living along the South American coast. They are threatened, in particular from anthropogenic activities, including fishing gear. Argos can help to better assess their home ranges and behaviors, which should help in protecting them. Photo: Argentinian researchers prepare to release a tagged franciscana…
A Chinese Sparrowhawk in flight

19.10.2021 Animal tracking applications Chinese and Japanese sparrowhawks fly over the East-Asian continent

Chinese and Japanese sparrowhawks are migratory raptors from East Asia. They migrate from Russia and China to Indonesia and other islands nearby. Understanding their migration routes, stopover sites and wintering grounds will help better protect them. Photo: A Chinese Sparrowhawk in flight (credit A. J. Pierce)  …
An Adélie penguin with an Argos PTT

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Adélie penguins live and breed around Antarctica. As with all penguins, they forage in a three-dimensional environment, ranging horizontally at-sea and diving vertically to capture prey. A recent study analysed the relationship between horizontal and vertical movements, and how movement behaviour is influenced by environmental conditions.   Photo:…
Future Argos constellation

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an adult (white-feathered) and a juvenile (dark-feathered) northern gannet

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A green turtle with an Argos PTT

10.09.2021 Animal tracking applications Western Australian green turtle behaviour analysed

A large population of green turtles is found in Western Australia. Using a database of tracks enables scientists to model their behaviour and help in deciding the protection regulations to enforce.   Photo: a green turtle with an Argos PTT going back to the sea after nesting…
Whimbrel in flight with transmitter antennae extending beyond the tail

25.08.2021 Animal tracking applications Whimbrels crossing tropical storms

Whimbrels migrate at the peak of the hurricane season, crossing the Atlantic. Different populations of this American shorebirds have different strategies to deal with tropical storms. However, they may have to find new ways with climate change worsening the storms. Photo: Whimbrel in flight with transmitter antenna extending…
a whale and the boat used to equip it

10.08.2021 Animal tracking applications A whale’s slumber detected in Argos data

Animal tracking with Argos began in the 1980s. Improved techniques and satellite coverage now allow for much more tracking, with better resolutions. However, old tracks analysed with current methods can help understand issues such as the sleep of whales as is the case of fin whales, here in…
Two scarlet macaws

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A blue shark

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Brent geese in flight; the one on the left has an Argos PTT (credit K. Clausen)

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Wild geese are among the most famous migratory birds – stars of fiction and documentaries. However, there are a number of different species, the Light-bellied Brent Geese among them. They don’t have the same migratory habits, as Argos telemetry enabled to assess. Photo: Brent geese in flight; the one on…
Argos birds webinar

16.06.2021 Animal tracking applications [WEBINAR] Argos Bird Telemetry: User Community Stopover

Registrations are now closed. This webinar was an opportunity to bring the community (virtually) back together while sharing some great research. Thank you to everyone who participated. You can access the replay below.
A calf manatee

16.06.2021 Animal tracking applications Manatee tracking study highlights the problems of dams in Africa

Manatees can live in rivers. However, in Africa, dams have been built over rivers, so that mitigation and modifications should be made to let the manatees come and go with the wet and dry seasons. A study examines this in the Senegal River. Photo: a calf…
Great albatross equipped with a Centurion beacon

31.05.2021 Animal tracking applications Albatrosses detect illegal fishing boats

Albatrosses tend to be attracted by fishing boats, which is one of the main threats on the species. The bycatch risk is usually assessed by comparing albatrosses’ and (legal) boats locations. Illegal fishing grounds are less easy to pinpoint, though, except that the boats keep their radar on,…
jaguar

14.05.2021 Animal tracking applications Jaguars in need of increasing biosphere reserve

Jaguars are one of the emblematic animals throughout the Americas. As most large terrestrial predators, it is threatened of extinction. Tracking them using Argos satellite telemetry enable to better understand their need in terms of available space and of environment. Photo Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)  …