Argos System and Satellites for Migratory Species Conservation

Dr Sophie Baudel1, Mr. Yann Bernard1, Mr. Stephan Lauriol

1CLS, Ramonville, France


Argos is the main satellite telemetry system used by the wildlife research community, environmental agencies, NGOs, marine parks, etc. for animal tracking and scientific data collection to observe, analyze and understand large-scale migrations and propose conservation measures.

Argos tracking data on hundreds of animal species among birds, land animals, marine animals, fishes, make available a high-precision mapping of migratory corridors, feeding and foraging areas, breeding and birth areas, together with seasonal and other time-scale dependent behavior analysis, such as climate change.

Argos is a fundamental decision-making tool for migratory species conservation.

In this context, the perennation of the Argos system through its new constellation is an important news for the “wildlife tracking” community: wildlife biologists, international global biodiversity agencies or projects, Conventions for the protection of endangered species, NGOs, foundations and protected areas decision makers.

The present Argos constellation with 7 operational satellites in orbit is being extended in the following years by the launch of new Argos payloads on 20 nanosatellites allowing more frequency bands, new modulation dedicated to animal tracking, very low transmission power transmitters, downlink capacity, revisit time of less than 20 minutes between two satellite passes, at the whole contribution to enhance the system capacity (50,000 active beacons instead of 20,000 today).

The design of the renewal of the Argos constellation, called Kineis, is on track and will be operational in 2022.

The presentation will be an overview of the Argos system present and future and new capacities coming with it, together with wildlife tracking applications.


I have a PhD in marine geosciences. At the beginning of my career, I worked in the field of physical and acoustical oceanography, then switched to operational project dedicated to the processing of sea surface temperature and ocean chlorophyll concentration monitoring by satellite. Since the end of 2017, I am in charge of developing the marine wildlife applications using the Institutional Argos satellite systems and offering data fusion supporting the analyses of the species movements in view of environmental conditions and human activities (vessel traffic, pollution, etc.)

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