Effects of moose movement and habitat use on GPS collar performance

Ron Moen, John Pastor, Yosef Cohen, Charles C. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


We tested a radiotelemetry collar that uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit to calculate animal locations. We placed the collar in a range of cover types and compared locations reported by the collar to differentially- corrected GPS locations. We placed the collar on a free-ranging moose (Alces alces) and determined how selection of cover types, collar movement, and collar orientation affected GPS locations. On or off the moose, the GPS unit collected a location in >90% of location attempts in areas with no or thin canopy cover, including mature deciduous canopies in winter. Under a mature conifer canopy or a mature deciduous canopy in summer, 60 to 70% of location attempts were successful. Locations from the GPS unit in the collar were close to the expected precision of non-differentially corrected GPS (within 40 m 50% of the time and 100 m 95% of the time). Locations did not have a directional bias. Movement of the moose while a location was being attempted did not affect GPS locations. The moose occasionally laid down so the collar was horizontal. Although this decreased the success of location attempts, <1% of location attempts were so affected. GPS radiotelemetry has great promise for expanding our knowledge about hourly, daily, and annual patterns in animal movements and habitat selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-668
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1996


  • Alces alces
  • GPS
  • behavior
  • global positioning system
  • location
  • moose
  • radiotelemetry


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