Camera trapping has revolutionized wildlife ecology and conservation by providing automated data acquisition, leading to the accumulation of massive amounts of camera trap data worldwide. Although management and processing of camera trap-derived Big Data are becoming increasingly solvable with the help of scalable cyber-infrastructures, harmonization and exchange of the data remain limited, hindering its full potential. We present a new data exchange format, the Camera Trap Data Package (Camtrap DP), designed to allow users to easily exchange, harmonize and archive camera trap data at local to global scales. Camtrap DP structures camera trap data in a simple yet flexible data model consisting of three tables (Deployments, Media, and Observations) that supports a wide range of camera deployment designs, classification techniques (e.g., human and AI, media-based and event-based) and analytical use cases, from compiling species occurrence data through distribution, occupancy and activity modeling to density estimation. The format further achieves interoperability by building upon existing standards, Frictionless Data Package in particular, which is supported by a suite of open software tools to read and validate data. Camtrap DP is the consensus of a long, in-depth, consultation and outreach process with standard and software developers, the main existing camera trap data management platforms, major players in the field of camera trapping, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Under the umbrella of the Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG), Camtrap DP has been developed openly, collaboratively, and with version control from the start and we encourage camera trapping users and developers to join the discussion and contribute to the further development and adoption of this standard.
- Data & Infrastructuur