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Establishment and Accuracy Assessment of Fixed-station Telemetry Systems with Global Positioning System Equipment

Marc R. Matchett, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Charles Russell National Wildlife Refuge, Box 110, Airport Road, Lewiston, MT 59457 USA, Dean E. Biggins, and Jerry L. Godbey, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Midcontinent Ecological Science Center, 4512 McMurray Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80525 USA

Global positioning system (GPS) equipment was used to establish coordinates for telemetry station and reference transmitter locations during black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) reintroduction efforts in Montana during 1994 and 1995. Fixed telemetry stations were used to collect data on black-footed ferret locations, movements, and fate. Coordinates and error polygons based on telemetry azimuths were estimated for locations of test transmitters and compared to GPS-derived coordinates for the purpose of estimating linear differences of telemetry-derived coordinates. Accuracy of telemetry-derived coordinates was variable, largely depending on the location of test sites and inherent qualities of each telemetry station. On-site accuracy assessment of telemetry systems with GPS is simple, beneficial for subsequent analyses, and necessary for habitat use/selection investigations.

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