Entura’s device gives Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service a bird’s-eye view

October 11, 2022

Entura has designed and constructed a remote monitoring device that will be used by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) to support its land management operations.

The unique portable device is the first of its kind to be used in Tasmania. It has an instantly deployable configuration rarely seen in other monitoring devices and comprises instrumentation, high-resolution camera, weather station, satellite, bespoke helicopter auto-lock mechanism and off-grid solar system.

“A portable monitoring system used by Hydro Tasmania caught the eye of PWS, who engaged us to design a similar product to support its field operations,” said Aaron Kelly, one of Entura’s expert Instrumentation and Communications engineers, who led the design.

“We worked with the PWS to create something that met its specific needs, incorporating a camera to capture high-resolution images, a communication system to send these back to a dashboard and a portable robust structure.”

“Working with PWS, we identified an auto-lock mechanism that allowed the device to be picked up and placed entirely by helicopter, with no ground crews or assembly required. We also employed a satellite terminal that’s often used on trains and buses for Wi-Fi, which can be powered by a small off-grid solar power system but still send high-resolution images.”

The first installation of the system – dubbed ‘Big Bird One’ by PWS – was successfully deployed last month in Tasmania’s Southwest National Park. The camera-fitted telemetry equipment was able to capture images from the site and deliver these back to PWS via satellite communications.

Information captured by the monitoring equipment is fed into Entura’s Ajenti Data Management System (ADMS) and used by PWS personnel to assess conditions prior to deploying helicopters for track works and other operations.

“PWS is currently doing track works in the Southwest National Park, and the camera allows staff to check conditions in the area and decide whether or not works can safely go ahead that day,” said Aaron. “It saves them time and resources, as well as helping to manage the risks associated with accessing these remote and often rugged areas.”

“Being able to move the equipment via helicopter also has benefits in terms of landscape preservation and a smaller site footprint than conventional devices.”

In addition to track works and general monitoring operations, the device also has scope to be used for early bushfire detection.

“Our team provides a lot of these monitoring solutions for permanent sites, but this portable model opens up a whole new world for us and our clients,” said Aaron.

“Collaborating with PWS on this specific device was a great experience and it’s exciting to have been involved in such an innovative, important design. We’re looking forward to seeing how the telemetered camera can be used in future and the benefits it will bring.”