Argos is a satellite-based system that collects, processes, and disseminates environmental data from fixed and mobile platforms worldwide. What makes Argos unique is the ability to geographically locate the source of the data anywhere on the Earth utilizing the Doppler effect. The Argos system itself comprises of six satellites, which follow polar orbits at an altitude of about 850km (530 miles), 50 terrestrial receiving stations, and two data processing centers. Unlike the Global Positioning System (GPS) that needs a minimum of three satellites to be in range to pinpoint an object’s location, Argos requires just one satellite to “see” a transmitter to do this.
The Argos platform allows engineers, scientists, researchers, students around the worked to track environmental things. Argos transmitters have been deployed on plastics tracking and animals, especially marine mammals like walruses and sea turtles. They easily find applications requiring long-distance movement tracking of both coastal and oceanic species.
In as much Argos provides an avenue to deploy environmental applications, the transmitters used for them don’t usually come cheap. They are mostly closed source, meaning integrating into a custom solution is almost impossible. This is a daunting challenge, especially for a researcher working on custom projects different from the everyday use of Argos. This is the challenge Arribada has decided to address by creating an open ARGOS transmitter reference design in an Arduino style like settings called the Arribada Horizon.
How could we include ARGOS satellite telemetry within the design of the Arribada Horizon sea turtle tag to enable our users to track migratory sea turtles?
Arribada already offers an inter-nestal tag that enables users to track sea turtles migration movement. The inspiration for the Arribada Horizon open-source initiative came from the contest hosted by CLS to develop an open-source transmitter. Arribada team up with Icoteq Ltd, a wireless technology engineering firm for the development of the transmitter, and is in partnership with CLS telemetry to launch the Horizon. A fully featured plug-and-play biologging platform that can be used to transmit to ARGOS satellites from anywhere.
The Horizon platform comes in two mainboard setup: the self-contained transmitter board and the horizon mainboard. The transmitter board is made up of the ARGOS-4 ARTIC Chipset and can be integrated into any custom microcontroller unit through its PicoBlade interface. The main-board consisted of a uBox based assisted GPS, an accelerometer, pressure sensor, cellular connectivity, and Bluetooth 5.0. The Horizon platform also provides a graphical user interface that runs in your browser to configure the Horizon devices, and Python was the language of choice for the development of the boards.
Although the Arribada Horizon is expected to be open-source, the full open-source design hasn’t released to the public, and you want to contact Arribada directly for the reference design. No information is available about the pricing of the horizon platform, as well.
If you’re interested in the open reference design package, you can contact CLS, or if you’d like pre-ordering information to get an Arribada Horizon ARGOS-4 Developer’s Kit, please contact Arribada directly. More information is available on the announcement post here.