Mobile observation

Research on the behavior of wild and domesticated animals may focus on aspects such as ecology, social behavior, and animal welfare. Animals can be observed in a wide variety of environments and studying their behavior often requires a mobile set-up. The Observer® XT and Pocket Observer allow you to score and analyze animal behavior in great detail. They offer you powerful observation tools in a mobile format. 

An ideal mobile tool

Pocket Observer is the on-the-go version of The Observer XT and runs on a variety of handheld computers. That makes it a practical tool for many situations. For example, you could use it to study cow behavior in stables to investigate their welfare. You’ll be able to move around to keep the animal of interest within view. Or you might be studying the daily rituals of wild animals, or the stereotypical behavior of zoo animals. If you don’t have room to set up a computer, Pocket Observer is ideal.
Pocket Observer is also a practical solution for when your observations take place at many different locations, such as when you are studying the interaction between pets and their owner in several home situations. The only thing you need to take with you is the handheld device.  

Scoring on the go

Of course, you start your experiment with a coding scheme (ethogram). Use The Observer XT Base on your desktop or laptop to organize all the subjects and behaviors you want to study. Then transfer this coding scheme to the handheld computer that has the Pocket Observer software installed and simply start observing.

Scoring behaviors is easy: just tap the corresponding key. Do you see some interesting behavior that you did not account for in your coding scheme? No problem, just add it while you are scoring. When you’re done observing, the data is transferred back to your desktop or laptop for analysis. 

A handheld for every situation

You can choose from a variety of handhelds, suitable for various environmental conditions. Rugged handhelds can withstand extreme environmental conditions, making them suitable for use in locations ranging from arid deserts to tropical rainforests. Protective accessories are available for rainy days or high humidity. Handhelds with a touch screen provide a clear overview of accessible functions, while keyboard based handhelds allow you to fully concentrate on the animal while observing. Some handhelds provide both features, making them versatile for almost any situation. Pocket Observer also runs on a selection of smart phones.

Detailed behavioral assessment

Any behavior can be included in the coding scheme and subsequently scored. You can also use independent variables to include information about your subjects, such as age or gender, or about the environmental conditions in your project. To add more detail to your observations, you can connect ‘modifiers’ to behaviors. For example, while observing chimpanzees in the zoo, the behavior ‘eat’ can be extended with the modifier ‘apple’ or ‘banana’ from the modifier group ‘food items’. Subjects, behaviors, modifiers, and independent variables can all be used for data selection and analysis.

Scoring methods 

Both The Observer XT and Pocket Observer allow you to score continuously, instantaneously, or to combine both methods. This is convenient when you are studying a large group of animals. You can use it to score the detailed behavior of the alpha male in a group of chimpanzees continuously, while scoring the behaviors of the rest of the group only at set intervals. 


Find out more at the Noldus blog: read posts on animal welfare, and animal-human interaction studies, for example.