Unidentified ranger recording information about nets and animal entanglements the 'old way'. Photo Jane Dermer.


From early 2010, GhostNets Australia began transitioning our survey methods from paper survey sheets to electronic data collection.

This new data collection method consists of a touch-screen handheld computer (Personal Data Assistant - PDA) loaded with CyberTracker™ software. The PDAs are robust and waterproof, making them more suited than paper survey sheets to field work in a remote monsoonal environment.

With technical assistance from the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), a series of questions was created to allow rangers to easily record a comprehensive suite of information about nets they found.

For more information about CyberTracker™ visit the CyberTracker™ website.

By using touch-screen technology, the need for extensive writing was reduced and made data collection more efficient and accurate. In this way, the GNA database is being steadily increased to include more diagnostic information to support identifying the fisheries that use the gear.

During 2014 we are making some refinements to the application so it is even easier to use minimising error. But more importantly having taken the big step to electronic data collection we are now (2014) exploring other systems so that data can be collected and uploaded through a simple app. Exciting times.