Migration Database and Viewer

Migration Viewer

Project Overview

Wyoming is fortunate to have so many vast, largely undisturbed landscapes that are essential for maintaining long-distance ungulate migrations. Biologists and managers have made great strides in understanding these migration corridors over the past 20 years, especially in Wyoming. Studies that capture and fit ungulates with GPS collars have collected millions of animal locations. 

Many federal agencies, university researchers, environmental consulting firms, and NGOs have pursued migration research for decades. Original studies that address an array of basic and applied questions have been completed with funding from a variety of sources. WMI’s Migration Viewer project archives these datasets and makes detailed movement data accessible to public stakeholders interested in conserving Wyoming’s ungulate migrations.

The WMI has partnered with the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) to develop a secure database for Wyoming’s GPS movement studies. We have obtained, reviewed, and standardized the participating studies to make data consistent and comparable, and have built a suite of analytical tools into the online viewer to gain insights into the archived movement data. These tools allow individuals to access and explore GPS movement data whether they are managers, biologists, or curious members of the general public. The database and viewer are now a standard archive for ungulate movement data in Wyoming and a durable resource for the state and region.

By working with researchers who have shared their data, this project makes it possible for users to view and animate ungulate movement data. Nevertheless, the raw location data can only be obtained by contacting the original data owner. This approach - of allowing users to view and make simple summaries of existing ungulate movement data while protecting the raw location data - is a key component of this effort. This allows us to share ungulate movement data with a broad range of users, while protecting the integrity of the datasets and the proprietary study or project needs of the many researchers that collected and own the data.

Bill Rudd, WMI cofounder, led our efforts on this project as the primary liaison with researchers and partners. Shannon Albeke at WyGISC led the overall design and implementation of the database and application. Front end viewer design and development expertise was provided by Megen Brittel, a PhD candidate at the University of Oregon. The Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) application team provided backend support, development and implementation.  

Project Partners

This project is possible through a wide variety of funding partners, including: the Wyoming Department of Transportation, the Wyoming Governor’s Big Game License Coalition, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Bureau of Land Management, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the US Geological Survey, and the Wyoming Game and Fish. This project also relies on the cooperation of the many researchers and managers across Wyoming and the region who have collected and shared ungulate movement data. Their efforts and cooperation have greatly benefited this project.

Elk Migration map

New Migration Viewer Interface

In late 2017 WMI launched version 2.0 of the Migration Viewer with a new look and many improvements that make it easier to navigate and animate animal movements. If you have used the site in the past you will definitely see the difference, and if you are a new user, give it a try. As always, we are interested in your feedback, so if you encounter any difficulty or have questions please let us know. We intend to add a FAQ section to address issues for future users.