Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: How often should dead-reckoned animal movement paths be corrected for drift?
Author(s): Gunner, Richard M
Holton, Mark D
Scantlebury, David M
Hopkins, Phil
Shepard, Emily L C
Fell, Adam J
Garde, Baptiste
Quintana, Flavio
Gómez-Laich, Agustina
Yoda, Ken
Yamamoto, Takashi
English, Holly
Ferreira, Sam
Govender, Danny
Viljoen, Pauli
Keywords: Biologging
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Animal movement
Animal tracking
Tilt-compensated compass
GPS correction
Issue Date: 2021
Date Deposited: 24-Nov-2021
Citation: Gunner RM, Holton MD, Scantlebury DM, Hopkins P, Shepard ELC, Fell AJ, Garde B, Quintana F, Gómez-Laich A, Yoda K, Yamamoto T, English H, Ferreira S, Govender D & Viljoen P (2021) How often should dead-reckoned animal movement paths be corrected for drift?. Animal Biotelemetry, 9, Art. No.: 43.
Abstract: Background Understanding what animals do in time and space is important for a range of ecological questions, however accurate estimates of how animals use space is challenging. Within the use of animal-attached tags, radio telemetry (including the Global Positioning System, ‘GPS’) is typically used to verify an animal’s location periodically. Straight lines are typically drawn between these ‘Verified Positions’ (‘VPs’) so the interpolation of space-use is limited by the temporal and spatial resolution of the system’s measurement. As such, parameters such as route-taken and distance travelled can be poorly represented when using VP systems alone. Dead-reckoning has been suggested as a technique to improve the accuracy and resolution of reconstructed movement paths, whilst maximising battery life of VP systems. This typically involves deriving travel vectors from motion sensor systems and periodically correcting path dimensions for drift with simultaneously deployed VP systems. How often paths should be corrected for drift, however, has remained unclear. Methods and results Here, we review the utility of dead-reckoning across four contrasting model species using different forms of locomotion (the African lion Panthera leo, the red-tailed tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda, the Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus, and the imperial cormorant Leucocarbo atriceps). Simulations were performed to examine the extent of dead-reckoning error, relative to VPs, as a function of Verified Position correction (VP correction) rate and the effect of this on estimates of distance moved. Dead-reckoning error was greatest for animals travelling within air and water. We demonstrate how sources of measurement error can arise within VP-corrected dead-reckoned tracks and propose advancements to this procedure to maximise dead-reckoning accuracy. Conclusions We review the utility of VP-corrected dead-reckoning according to movement type and consider a range of ecological questions that would benefit from dead-reckoning, primarily concerning animal–barrier interactions and foraging strategies.
DOI Link: 10.1186/s40317-021-00265-9
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Notes: Additional co-authors: Angela Bruns, O. Louis van Schalkwyk, Nik C. Cole, Vikash Tatayah, Luca Börger, James Redcliffe, Stephen H. Bell, Nikki J. Marks, Nigel C. Bennett, Mariano H. Tonini, Hannah J. Williams, Carlos M. Duarte, Martin C. van Rooyen, Mads F. Bertelsen, Craig J. Tambling & Rory P. Wilson
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Gunner2021_AniBiotelem.pdfFulltext - Published Version5.32 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

A file in this item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.