Field Deployment Best Practices

Overview

This article will cover the steps to follow while deploying AudioMoth recorders at your research sites.

 ⚠ Handle recorders carefully⚠

1. Use the RFCx Companion app to deploy the AudioMoth. A complete tutorial on using the Companion app can be found here.

2. Up to 5 photos can be added to each site to help you find your device later.

3. Insert the recorder, battery, and one silica gel pack inside the plastic case.

4. Make sure that the plastic case is completely sealed.

5. Select a tree branch that's about a meter and a half off the ground. Make sure that no leaves are touching the recorder. Fasten the recorder to the branch using clothes pins, with the plastic bag opening facing down. Deploy recorders 50-100 away from roads or any other source of noise unless you have a specific question/goal associated with the impact of noise on biodiversity.

6. Check that the RED light is NOT SOLID.

⚠ Lights: if red and green light up simultaneously, the recorder will need another sync. 

The lights can attract unwanted attention to the recorder, alerting both humans and animals to its location and also attract insects. Use black tape to hide the lights when next to trails and urbanization, or when tampering may be a concern.

7. As a backup, we recommend noting the GPS coordinates (with < 10 meters of error) of the tree in which the recorder was placed.

8. Flag a tree near where you placed the AudioMoth device to help you during the retrieval process. Make sure to always follow a consistent methodology (e.g. always place the flag 10m north of the AudioMoth). We do not recommend flagging the actual location of the AudioMoth because it can attract people who may tamper with or destroy the device. 

9. As you leave the deployment site you may see other helpful markers near the trail that will help you locate the device later - feel free to add those photos using the Companion app.

Retrieval Steps:

1.Turn the recorder off, place it back in the plastic case, and store it securely.

2. On a computer, create a folder for each AudioMoth recorder.

3. Transfer the recordings from each recorder to their corresponding folder. 

4. Upload the recordings using the RFCx Uploader.

5. Delete recordings from SD cards ONLY after they've been transferred to a computer or hard drive, and uploaded to Arbimon

6. After deleting files from the MicroSD Cards, check the folder to make sure all the files have actually been deleted. If the recordings are still there, it may be necessary to reformat the microSD cards.

Note: If you had issues with successfully deleting files from the SD card, you can use an SD Card Formatter. This feature is also often available on your computer already without downloading any special software by right-clicking on the folder and selecting "format". After formatting the SD card, make sure that all the recordings were eliminated by opening the folder. The reformatting process can damage the microSD cards, even when the SD Card Formatter says: "formatting was successfully completed" so it's best to rely on the file deletion process instead.