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Consumer-grade GPS units are a staple of modern field ecology, but the relatively large error radii reported by manufacturers (up to 10 meters) ostensibly precludes their utility in measuring fine-scale movement of small animals such as insects. Here we demonstrate that for data collected at fine spatio-temporal scales, these devices can produce exceptionally precise data on step-length and movement patterns of small animals. With an understanding of the properties of GPS error and how it arises, it is possible, using a simple field protocol, to use consumer grade GPS units to collect step-length data for the movement of small animals that introduces a median of 11 cm of error. Such small errors make these inexpensive units useful for measuring insect and other small animal movements on small to intermediate scales on budgets that are orders of magnitude lower than the survey-grade units used in past studies. As an additional advantage, these units are much simpler to operate and insect or other small animal trackways can be collected more quickly than either survey-grade units or more traditional ruler / gird approaches.
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