FAQs
About EarthRanger

What is EarthRanger?
EarthRanger is a software and data integration and visualization platform built to monitor and help analyze activity in a protected area to mitigate wildlife poaching and to assist with ecological monitoring and human wildlife conflict. The software combines data from GPS readings of animal and human movements, radio and vehicle trackers, camera trap photos, forest covers, and other information into a single, interactive digital map.

Who is EarthRanger designed for? Who is the intended user?
EarthRanger is designed for those interested in security, human wildlife conflict (HWC), and ecological monitoring in forest, savanna, or plains landscapes. In particular, EarthRanger can be used by protected area managers monitoring overall activity in their landscapes, as well as governments interested in ranger activity, wildlife movement, and area perimeter integrity.

Who created EarthRanger?
EarthRanger was developed by Vulcan, the company founded by tech pioneer and philanthropist Paul G. Allen committed to improving our planet and changing the trajectory of some of the world’s most difficult problems.

EarthRanger has been deployed and is continuously improved by a strong network of partners, including:
  • Early customers Grumeti Fund and Frankfurt Zoological Society
  • Founding partners including Save The Elephants, and Wildlife Conservation Society, Northern Rangelands Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, SMART Partnership, and African Parks
  • Technology partners including the SmartParks, Microsoft, Esri, Connected Conservation, Cisco, Dimension Data, and Tableau
  • Deployment partners including Forgotten Parks Foundation, Kinetic 6, Wildlife Protection Solutions, and Wildlife Dynamics.

Who/what is Vulcan?
Vulcan works to improve our planet and support our communities through catalytic technology, philanthropy, scientific research, media and commercial ventures.  Founded by technologist and philanthropist Paul Allen, Vulcan develops and grow the ideas about which he was passionate. 

We believe that technology can be a fast and impactful way to solve some of the world’s hardest problems in ocean health, wildlife conservation, climate, communities, and pandemics. Our focus is to get better data and tools into the hands of those doing good on the front line, enabling them to more effectively prevent animal poaching and illegal fishing, save coral reefs, improve climate science, and more. Our solutions combine real time access to data and machine learning to deliver actionable insights that shorten time to action, focus scarce resources, and help achieve greatest impact. We build these solutions within a sustainable model and combine them with driving awareness and influencing policies to ensure enduring impact.

What is Vulcan’s long term commitment to EarthRanger?
Vulcan is committed to the long-term success of EarthRanger. To promote this success, we have developed an EarthRanger Advisory Council (ERAC) with representatives from protected areas, technology partners, and deployment partners to advise on product development and sustainability decisions. We also actively support tech advancement for wildlife conservation to promote the best solutions to wildlife conservation challenges, including the OpenCollar Initiative for open source hardware and software development for environmental and wildlife projects.

How much has Vulcan contributed to EarthRanger?
Over the last four years, Vulcan has devoted significant resources to develop EarthRanger to fill an acknowledged gap in wildlife conservation efforts. Our investment in research, development, support, and maintenance costs total more than $4,000,000 USD.

Can you connect me with a site that is using EarthRanger to learn how they've incorporated the software into their operations?
We have 30+ EarthRanger sites across Africa and Asia today, and have detailed some in our quarterly community newsletter. Please contact info@earthranger.com to get a copy of these newsletters and for an introduction to a protected area (note that an introduction is at the protected area's discretion and cannot be guaranteed).

How do I get started?
To begin working with EarthRanger, contact us at info@earthranger.com. As a first step, we’ll get in contact to learn more about how EarthRanger can help you and your team.

Capabilities

What are the import and export capabilities (from/to SMART, Google Earth, Semantica, etc.)?
EarthRanger can import and export data to a number of other software offerings, including Semantica, SMART, and Google Earth. Please contact us at info@earthranger.com to learn more about how EarthRanger can integrate with your specific situation.

What sensors can connect to EarthRanger?
EarthRanger supports more than 25 devices, including camera traps, animal collars, “Internet of Things” devices, and radios. For a full list of these sensors, please contact info@earthranger.com.

Pricing and costs

How much does EarthRanger cost?
EarthRanger is free - qualified users can set up and deploy an instance at no charge. For protected areas requiring more complex configurations or service support, service packages can be purchased. No services are sold to generate profit; revenue from these purchases goes to partners and to Vulcan to cover part of engineering support and maintenance costs.

What kind of user support can a protected area expect to receive?
There are two support tiers, Level 1 (L1) and Level 2 (L2).

L1 support is provided either by a Deployment Partner (DP) or self-served by the protected area itself.

L1 support includes support for basic and routine customer issues and basic help desk resolution of user needs and support requests, including, without limitation, solving usage issues. It also includes in-depth technical support involving complex, non-routine and significant issues, and issues involving any external software using an API associated with Licensor Software, including, but not limited to, third-party applications.

L2 support is provided by Vulcan; this includes development engineer support that requires access to underlying source code.

How many staff do I need to run EarthRanger, and what skill set do they need to have?
EarthRanger is built to be intuitive and easy to use, and only requires one person to run the program at a given time. Ideally these staff members will understand protected area management, law enforcement, basic geography, and ideally come from a ranger, analytic, or a monitoring background.

Intermediate computer skills, including familiarity with navigating through point and click applications, are needed to use EarthRanger. The platform has been built to be easy to use and intuitive, with user friendly functionality to minimize training and onboarding time.

Can you connect us with organizations that can provide funding for EarthRanger support services?
We work closely with a variety of organizations engaged in various aspects of wildlife conservation. Please visit our partner page to see who we currently work with, and contact us at info@earthranger.com to explore how to deploy EarthRanger at your location.

Requirements

What are the technical requirements for EarthRanger?
Basic tech requirements include:

  • A computer ( minimum of 2 gb of RAM)
  • Internet connectivity (1 mb/s download, 512 kb/s upload)
  • Google Chrome web browser
  • 70 cm (27 inch) monitor (preferred)
  • Secure and weather protected operations room
Individual site context dictates full deployment options; contact us at info@earthranger.com for a more in depth site assessment survey, and for recommendations for tech providers.

How long does it take to get set up on EarthRanger?
Setting up the EarthRanger software itself is straightforward and fast; assuming that required technology and staff are in place, contact setup through software deployment can range between 1-6 months.

What does the engagement process look like and how long does it take to going?
The EarthRanger team and our partners can be available to begin need assessments within a few days of receiving your inquiry, schedules pending. After this first kick off, additional investigations and contract development can take between 1-3 months. With a contract set, EarthRanger can be set up and deployed within 1-2 months, with training to follow. In total, this adds to between 1-6 months for setup and deployment.

Training and Support

What training is available?
We have training guides available to help users get familiar with EarthRanger. These files provide detailed information on set up and configuration, and guide users through using specific features and completing various tasks. These materials are provided once a site has been set up and deployed.

What support do you offer?
We work with deployment partners to help get your staff trained on EarthRanger on your equipment. After your instance is set up, Vulcan teams with deployment partners to provide multi-tiered support intended to get you the right level of service for the question or issue you have.

What capabilities does a protected area need to self-support L1?
Here’s a list of recommended capabilities for those wishing to self-service L1 support issues:
  • Strong familiarity with local operating procedures and technologies
  • Good understanding of Windows-based computer systems and other tech products
  • Working knowledge of common desktop applications including Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Adept at reading and interpreting technical documentation and procedure manuals
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and experience with computer troubleshooting
  • Highly motivated and self-directed with strong attention to detail
  • Strong communication skills, with a focus on listening and questioning skills
  • Ability to summarize and communicate detailed, technical troubleshooting steps
  • Orientation to providing high quality customer service skills