Animal Observer 4+

Damien Caillaud

Designed for iPad

    • 5.0 • 1 Rating
    • Free

iPad Screenshots


Easily collect behavioral data in the field or in captive settings!

Animal Observer is an advanced free application created to help researchers and students collect behavioral and health data. Animal observer is completely customizable!

Animal Observer can be used for focal animal sampling, scan sampling and ad libitum data collection on any animal species. With AOToolBox, a free desktop application developed alongside Animal Observer, you can prepare and modify your own data collection protocols. For example, you can define the composition of your study groups, as well as the behaviors you want to record. In addition, AOToolBox can convert observational data to an easy-to-use CSV format.

Animal Observer was designed by Damien Caillaud of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International to better monitor and protect critically endangered gorilla populations in Rwanda and DR Congo. Test Animal Observer right away using the built-in (simplified) gorilla behavioral data collection protocol!

Data Collection Protocols and Main Features:
• Focal animal sampling
• Scan sampling at fixed time intervals (during focal animal sampling)
• Ad libitum sampling
• Create global variables to record group-level data continuously during the focal sampling period
• Select multiple social groups to collect data when several groups merge or encounter each other
• Take pictures, videos, record your voice, and enter text while collecting your data

Spatial Data Features:
• Drag and drop the animals onto the screen scene and position them exactly where you observe them. The exact position of each individual on the screen scene is saved during scans to help you generate complete inter-individual distance matrices – perfectly suited for social network analysis!
• The background image on the screen includes a distance scale and can be modified to accommodate the spatial scale in which your study species ranges.
• Latitude/longitude/altitude/precision data are recorded when scans are saved and when social behaviors are recorded (requires iPad with GPS or iPad paired to Bluetooth GPS device).
• The compass bearing of the focal individual can be recorded during scans – use this information to convert the x,y coordinates of the individuals on the screen scene into latitude/longitude coordinates!
• In "Map Mode", you can replace the screen scene’s background image with a map of your choice (for example: map of a zoo enclosure, map of a forest clearing, water point...etc). "Map Mode" allows you to examine how your study animals use their habitat.

Data Upload/Download:
• Upload your data wirelessly to your SFTP server or save data directly to your computer using your iPad’s USB cable.
• Update your protocol files by syncing your iPad(s) with your SFTP server.

What’s New

Version 1.2.2

This app has been updated by Apple to display the Apple Watch app icon.

- SFTP transfer library update
- secondary data backup when initial data are erased
- output file name prefix set to last logged user name even after App logout

Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
1 Rating

1 Rating

K Lorenz ,

Fantastic new tool for animal behavior studies!

Discovering the Animal Observer app has been so much fun, and I am very excited to start using it in the field. It is going to revolutionize animal behavior studies. Not only does it streamline the process of data collection, it provides a user-friendly web interface (the Animal Observer Toolbox) that helps convert this data directly into .csv file format. I don't have to worry about spending hours transcribing data from audio recordings or field notes, and can get straight to analyzing data. How cool!

I also really appreciate that almost any protocol can be adapted to fit within the framework of the app. The default protocol gives you a pretty good idea about the flexibility of the settings.

I can only imagine how much time and effort went into developing the app, but the fact that it is absolutely FREE is a credit to the developer. Kudos. Thanks for creating such a fantastic new tool.

Lynn Elkins ,

Best there is. Hands down.

I wish this app existed when I was a PhD student. It's much more versatile and user-friendly than the extremely expensive behavior software I used for my grad school fieldwork. I can't believe this app is free. After spending a lot of time researching data collection tools, I am happy to see that Animal Observer offers great features not available in other software programs. It's perfect for collecting spatial data on a group of animals which makes it extremely handy for land use or social network studies. I also love that you can edit your entries in the field if you make a mistake, which is often difficult to do in other programs. You can also take photos, record sound bites, or dictate notes WHILE conducting scan/focal data collection. So useful. I'm really looking forward to using this app for my next study! Animal Observer is a game changer for sure.

searsha16 ,

No more messy behavioral data!

Fantastic app! Observational data on behaviors can be cumbersome to collect and even messier to clean, but this app really simplifies the process. The interface is simple and easy to use for people with a range of tech savvy and experience with mobile data colleciton. Best part is the detailed instructions for customizing the data collection for whatever animal you are observing. Well thought out and designed by experts in the field. Highly recommended!

App Privacy

The developer, Damien Caillaud, has not provided details about its privacy practices and handling of data to Apple.

No Details Provided

The developer will be required to provide privacy details when they submit their next app update.

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