A cloud-native computing architecture for analyzing animal tracking data

July 15, 2022

Thanks to high-tech, low-cost tracking devices, the study of wildlife movement is having its Big Data moment. But so far, only people with data science skills have been able to glean meaningful insights from this ‘golden age’ of tracking. A new system from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior (MPI-AB) and the University of Konstanz is changing that. MoveApps is a platform that lets scientists and wildlife managers explore animal movement data—with little more than a device and a browser—to tackle real-world issues. MoveApps is based on cloud-native concepts and has been deployed on the MPCDF HPC Cloud.

MoveApps on top of a cloud-native computing architecture

According to the authors, MoveApps is the most inclusive, sustainable, and secure platform for analysis of animal movement, thanks in part to its serverless, cloud-native computing architecture. All data are stored and analyzed on cloud-based infrastructure, which means that powerful analyses can be done in seconds without users needing a fast computer.

“MoveApps is leading the way towards a more democratic, emancipated and creative future, one in which science is open to everybody regardless if they can afford the necessary hardware and software,” says Kölzsch.

On the cloud, Apps are implemented as independent containers, which allows them to run more efficiently and minimizes the risk that an error in one will cascade to others in the workflow. MoveApps is currently hosted on the MPCDF High Performance Computing (HPC) Cloud and is free for all users. But MoveApps was built for flexibility: as demand might increase in the future or the request for faster processing of workflows becomes critical, MoveApps can grow within MPCDF as well as potentially take advantage of public clouds offered by commercial partners.

“By decoupling MoveApps from static infrastructure, we built it to be efficient and scalable for the long term,” says Brian Standley who is supporting the project at MPCDF.

Original publication and references:


Brian Standley, Max Planck Computing and Data Facility, Garching

Andrea Kölzsch, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Radolfzell / Konstanz

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