The ICARUS System

The ICARUS system enables global observation of small objects such as animals from space. Its miniaturized tracking devices (tags) communicate via RF with the ICARUS payload on a satellite and terrestrially with handheld devices and base stations. The ICARUS User Data Centre operates the system, processes the data and commands, and provides the user with access to the data. The ICARUS system provides:

  • very small, lightweight and innovative tags
  • global tag coverage to record long distance migration patterns
  • simultaneous communication with a multitude of animal tags
  • extremely low tag mass and size to allow tracking of small animals
  • long, maintenance-free tag life in order to cover complete migration cycles
  • logging of internal (physiological) and external (environmental) state of animals

The ICARUS system aims at users who want to observe or monitor a large number of objects over long distance and time with small devices.

ICARUS System: Tracking of animals terrestrial and from space

The Tags

Tags form the core element of the ICARUS system. Once fixed on the object being studied, they collect data such as GPS position, 3D accelleration, magnetic orientation, temperature, amongst other measurements. These data are sent to the receiver station in space that then forwards them via the ground stations to the ICARUS user data centre. There the data are prepared and stored in the Movebank database.

The Database

The collected data are accessible through Movebank, a free, online database of animal tracking data hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. Movebank data belong to researchers all over the world. These researchers can choose to make part or all of their study information and animal tracks visible to other registered users, or to the public.

Movebank - database for migrating animals