Remote Camera Survey Guidelines and metadata standards for Western Alberta

Alberta Remote Camera Steering Committee (RCSC)
Cassondra Stevenson
Anne Hubbs
Wildlife Cameras for Adaptive Management (WildCAM)
Resource Date:

This current resource webpage (deployed by GitHub) provides links to the online version of both the Remote Camera Survey Guidelines: Guidelines for Western Canada (RCSC et al., 2023) and Remote Camera Metadata Standards: Standards for Alberta (RCSC, 2023), where you can also download the PDF copies. 

Background information:
The Alberta Remote Camera Steering Committee (RCSC) is an Alberta-specific group of remote camera experts that merged with the B.C. Advisory Committee in 2020 to form WildCAM (Wildlife Cameras for Adaptive Management; https:/, a wildlife camera network for western Canada. Together, we aim to address camera users’ desires for enhanced coordination, knowledge sharing, tools, and guidelines by creating and sharing resources related to remote cameras (i.e., R scripts, training material, etc.) via quarterly newsletters, blogs, and workshops. Over the past year, the RCSC worked with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (EPA), WildCAM, and Saul Greenberg (creator of Timelapse2) to develop standards and training materials for remote camera users by creating two companion documents, the Remote Camera Survey Guidelines: Guidelines for Western Canada (RCSC et al., 2023) and  Remote Camera Metadata: Standard for Alberta v2 (RCSC, 2023).

The Remote Camera Survey Guidelines: Guidelines for Western Canada (RCSC et al., 2023) were developed to support consistency in collecting remote camera data across Western Canada by offering advice on the appropriate study design, camera deployment methods and data management. The guidelines are also part of the initiative underway, which is to update Alberta Environment and Protected Area’s Sensitive Species Inventory Guidelines. The Remote Camera Metadata: Standard for Alberta v2 (RCSC, 2023) provides guidance on the types of data that should be collected and documented when using remote cameras to detect wildlife to 1) enable consistent and reliable data collection, and promote high-quality data, 2) enhance data consolidation amongst projects and the ability to answer large-scale management / research questions, 3) facilitate comparison between surveys or studies, 4) enhance common design standards for reproducible research, 5) allow for efficient project and data review, and 7) ensure that project planning meets required government and research standards. Aiming firstly to align metadata collection standards across western Canada, the Alberta Remote Camera Metadata Standards v2 (RCSC, 2023) heavily relied on the Wildlife Camera Metadata Protocol: Standards for Components of British Columbia’s Biodiversity No. 44 (RISC, 2019) developed by the province of British Columbia. However, due to the potential for broad implementation, these documents underwent an extensive review process by the RCSC, WildCAM Advisory Committee, and the Alberta and WildCAM Remote Camera Communities of Practice. We also considered data fields and formats available in other platforms (e.g., WildTrax and Timelapse2 [Greenberg, 2018]) and standards (e.g., Wildlife Insights Minimum Metadata Standards [Ahumada et al., 2019]), and various deployment protocols (e.g., WildEdmonton, ABMI, WildCAM, WildCo Lab [UBC]).

If you have questions about the guidelines or metadata standards, please contact the Alberta Wildlife Camera Coordinator (Cassie Stevenson;