A team at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) has developed a system for tracking bird movements and behaviour, called UvA-BiTS (for Bird Tracking System). Part of this system is a virtual lab for bird movement modelling.

Data sources used in this system include GPS tracks and accelerometer data of individual birds, but also environmental data such as meteorological conditions (ECMWF) or sea currents (Delft3D). The system forms an e-Science infrastructure for controlling the tracking system, downloading the data, uploading new measurement schemes, persistent storing of the data and exploring or analyzing the measurements of the UvA-BiTS.

Some of the tools in the virtual lab, specifically those for visualization, were developed by SURFsara: the KMZ Generator and BirdView. The KMZ Generator generates a KMZ file based on a selection of input data.

BirdView is a tool for visually inspecting and analyzing several data sources, such as GPS tracks of individual birds. Environmental data, such as precipitation and wind, can be shown in separate layers for correlation purposes. BirdView is undergoing a rewrite on top of Cesium, as the original version was based on Google Earth plugin (which is no longer supported).

Below is a screenshot of the application in action, showing a GPS track of a bird over a period of just over a month. Historical weather data is overlayed for the active timestep (August 22nd, 2009), with regions of precipitation shown in purple and a wind vector field in yellow.

BirdVis screenshot