- Issue: Winter 2020
Camera traps have become an essential tool for studying wildlife. Often deployed in remote areas for long stretches, they can snap thousands of photos of animals that researchers rarely see up close. But sifting through all that imagery can take weeks, even months. Tagging and analyzing the photos requires extensive training, and uploading and sharing them is a file-transfer nightmare. Enter Wildlife Insights, a new global platform that employs artificial intelligence (AI) to whiz through those tasks, helping conservationists move faster to protect wildlife.
Launched in December 2019 by Google and a host of conservation partners—including WWF and Conservation International—Wildlife Insights offers a simple upload system, cloud-based storage, and AI tagging and analysis. By harnessing the power of big data, the platform unites millions of photos from camera trap projects (conducted by conservation organizations, governments, and citizen scientists) to reveal how wildlife is faring—in near-real time. With better information, we can understand how wildlife populations are changing and take action to protect endangered species. Check out some of our favorite images from the site.