December 22, 2009

A spaghetti map for Brutus’ movement


Brutus’ locations (small circles) since capture on 08 July 2009 to 30 November 2009. Each location is joined to the next consecutive location 12 hours apart with a line, resulting in what we call a “spaghetti” map. This joining of the dots can help us identify separate trips to a given area when there are several locations from other times. The lines joining consecutive locations are straight lines and the true path taken is likely anything but. However, it does provide us with the general direction and distance traveled. The most obvious trip we see is the one taken to Axel Heiberg Island to the west as Dave has pointed out earlier. That 129 kilometers (80 mile) trip began in the evening of 18 November and ended in the evening of 21 November, for an elapsed time of 84 hours. With the locations coming at 12-hour intervals we can’t precisely say what Brutus was doing, but no doubt he was hunting and likely resting at times too. We can also add up the distances traveled between locations and estimate a minimum distance traveled. Since monitoring began, we have received 289 of a possible 290 locations. The cumulative distance from point-to-point that Brutus has traveled up to 30 November is 2,726 km (1,683 miles). The average distance between these consecutive 12-hr locations is 9.5 km (5.8 miles) and has ranged from 0 (resting) to 41 km (25.3 miles). That 41 km distance occurred on Brutus’ trip to Axel Heiberg Island on 18 November. So far, the north-south extent of the Brutus’ locations is 93 km (57.4 miles) and the east west extent is 109 km (67.3 miles). Note that the fiords would all be frozen now and can be crossed on foot.

--Dean.

17 comments:

  1. Came here via Wired. This map is very interesting, so thank you.

    It might be fun to generate Google Earth versions of these maps, or Google Earth "flights" from these maps so we could see the terrain that Brutus is covering.

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  2. Awesome project. I would LOVE to see that map animated over time, it would really be interesting to 'follow' Brutus through his travels.

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  3. We were fortunate enough to spot a pack of wolves on our way from Banff to Jasper. They had large sized collars on. A ranger in Jasper told they are being tracked with it. It was our most intense wild creature experience. The animals looked so strong and healthy.

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  4. Hey guys:
    Great to discover your blog through a reference in an article in the Toronto Star today. I studied the wolves around Eureka back in 1973 and 1974 and found their den there northwest of the airstrip. Some of the wolves also visited the dump at Eureka to scavenge. As well as eating muskox and hares, I also saw a pair eat a seal which they had caught at its breathing hole and this may be another reason why they go onto the ice in winter. I look forward to reading your blog and keeping up with the discoveries.
    Eric Grace
    Victoria, BC.

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  5. The pattern of the wolves travel show straight lines from one place to another. Is this how they really travel, or are you just getting a position fix at each of these points and just drawing a straight line between them?

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  6. I wish you great success with the research and thank you for letting me watch Brutus and his family's whereabouts with you.

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  7. Jerry,
    Anyone can download Google Earth, search for Ellesmere Island and zoom in on the areas depicted on our maps.  We really recommend doing this.

    Dave

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  8. Anonymous,
    The maps were all photographed in summer when the fiords were partly open water. The wolves crossed in fall and winter when everything is frozen and snow covered. Thus the maps are misleading.

    Dave

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  9. Anonymous,
    Just connecting 12-hour locations via straight lines.

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  10. Holger,
    Yes. Fortunately the size and strength of wolves allow them to carry
    large-enough collars to handle the needed battery power.

    Dave

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  11. Hi Eric,
    Nice to hear from you again.  The wolves have not used your den since 2006 (see 2006 blog or on my website). Instead they denned across the fiord where we couldn’t get because of the mudflats at the head of the fiord. That’s when we decided on resorting to the high-tech approach. I hope you stay tuned via the blog.  Regards.

    Dave

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  12. I read about this post in the Toronto Star today, and looked it up when I got home. Thanks for sharing this. I'm surprised no one has done this before. Fascinating!

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  13. wow..nice post you have

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  14. Thanks !

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  15. I got here from Wired... Thanks a lot for this blog - I see now I will have much to read :) Wolves are great animals and I would love to get to work on the studies of them in the future.

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