Tuesday, April 30, 2013

So, You CAN Afford Auto Bat Call ID Software? Which One To Get?

A few Posts ago, there was one titled 'So, you can't afford Auto Bat Call IDing software?'

Here is my version of a follow-up post. I'll call it:
'So, you CAN afford auto bat call ID software?' ...Which one should you get?

Where shall we begin? I'll give you a cliff notes version: Well, for starters - For those who aren't very familiar with computer software in general - I'd like to point out that bat call identification software is particularly difficult to produce well. There is a lot of work required, to make an effective product. The myriad of special algorithms required alone, can be overwhelming.

That is one reason why it's not easy to find a well-executed, robust, and easy-to-use package. Also, one of the reasons why it's never cheap! Here, we will cover the latest and greatest bat call ID software packages available today.

Each company producing Bat call analysis software has their own priorities, when it comes to which bats will be covered. In other words: Will the application focus primarily on bats from the USA? UK? Europe? There are several software packages that either:
  • Handle both (i.e. USA and UK/Europe)
  • Have one complete, and are working on adding bat species of the other (side of The Atlantic Ocean) 
In any case, there's really no need to elaborate on any of the other applications. What most Folks want to know, is which one is worth investing in? Which one is the best?

So, I did a lot of reading (of existing documentation, etc.). After extensive, and concentrated study of: Documentation, case studies, research papers, and professional field reports, from all of the currently available Call ID software packages:

Listed below, in no particular order, are the two best software applications available today, for automatic ID of bat species: 

Kaleidoscope from Wildlife Acoustics


BCID from Bat Call Identification Inc.
It's as simple as that.

In addition, I have personally extensively tested, and reviewed each of these software packages (substantial testing, evaluation, and comparisons were made; before I reached my conclusion). The two-part review of BCID software can be seen here: Part 1, Part 2

My detailed review, of the current version of Kaleidoscope Pro is still in process, but will also be posted here soon. For now, I'll say that:  
1. I've seen it routinely process almost 200 recordings in 12 seconds! 
2. There are all kinds of wonderful features being implemented into the software, even as I type. Features, that I cannot share yet; but will be sure to impress!

Now, there is one more, which happens to be both excellent and free! The only drawback, is that American bat species are not covered (at this time).
It is BatExplorer from Elekon, AG. I am currently testing this package, and I find it to be absolutely wonderful (a review will also be posted here, in the near future).

Honorable Mention:
The following software applications do not offer automatic bat species identification, but they are very good at what they do. Which is to enable a user to view recorded ultrasounds.

In summary: If you intend on purchasing a software package, to automatically identify bat species from your ultrasound recordings - The only bat call ID packages that you should be considering, are: Kaleidoscope Pro, and BCID. 
If you are using a Batlogger, from Elekon AG - Then, you only need to download and install the free BatExplorer software, and you're done.


  1. Did you review automated SonoBat as well?

  2. Thanks for your question! I have reached these conclusions, after a lot of careful research. And, yes, my research included SonoBat.
    After studying user manuals, specifications, a myriad of field reports, and correspondence with several Bat Working Professionals. Many users found the main interface screen to have an appearance which was too "busy"
    I've been informed that SonoBat appears to perform slower than the others (especially when processing large amounts of recordings) It's also a bit too expensive for some. There will be more info, in the upcoming Kaleidoscope Pro review.

  3. Hello! Cyberio just released version 1.1.1376 of the SoundChaser, which includes new features like the "smart" trigger that autocalibrates itself, instant replay and analysis of ultrasounds in the sonogram or oscillogram, etc. Would you have time to review this solution, please?

  4. Any chance you'll be able to update this one sometime soon? We've been using Kaleidoscope for the last year, and it just isn't that good. In my experience it still only picks up about half the calls, which means we may be missing important species. BLE are almost never picked up and myotids are frequently missed.
    But the device is overly keen with barbastelle, often tagging noise files and calls which are obviously common pipistrelle.
    Noctule / leislers / serotine are frequently confused.

    There are some good points - pipistrelles are picked up and tagged correctly c.95% of the time - maybe more. There is some oversensitivity towards nathusius pipistrelle, but that's probably a good thing given the lack of data on their populations - which gives a good opportunity to confirm through manual ID.

  5. I second the comment above, an update on this topic would be greatly appreciated :) Thanks!