Create and manage live data feeds

Movebank provides free automated, near-live data feeds for a growing number of tag manufacturers and data providers:

To request data feeds for additional providers, please contact us at support@movebank.org.

Start a feed

You can set up a subscription to automatically collect your data and add it to your study in Movebank. Follow these instructions to subscribe to automated feeds for supported tags. For Argos PTTs, read here. To start a new feed,

  • If you haven't already, register for a free account on Movebank and create a study to which your data will be sent.

  • If needed, update the permissions and sharing settings for the study.

  • Contact your tag provider to let them know you will be setting up a feed in Movebank, and include the following information:

    • Fleetronic and MoveTech: Provide the Movebank ID for your study (listed in the Study Details) and a list of tags you will want access to.
    • Ornitela: Provide your Movebank username/s and select tags you will want access to in their online portal.
    • VECTRONIC: Activate forwarding to Movebank in the INVENTA platform (see instructions).
    • All other supported manufacturers for non-Argos tags: Provide your Movebank username/s and a list of tags you will want access to.
  • Once you have confirmation that the provider has sent this information to Movebank, log in to Movebank, return to your study in the Studies page and select your provider under Live Feeds. NOTE: Only one feed subscription per provider is allowed in a study. This subscription can be for multiple tags, but one Movebank account must have permission from the provider to subscribe to all tags.

  • Select New. A window will open showing a list of available Tag IDs. If you do not see a Tag ID listed, it might be because Movebank has not yet received any data for the tag.

  • Select Add all tags or choose individual Tag IDs and click on . The chosen Tag IDs will now be listed under Selected tags.

  • Select Save.

Once your feed is started, learn about next steps and the timing and frequency of feed updates.

Manage existing feeds

For Argos PTTs, read here. For all other feeds, the Live Feed Manager looks like this:

When a new tag is added to a feed, a Tag ID will be automatically created if it does not already exist in the study, and data will begin to import to your study. The first import typically occurs within minutes of adding a tag to a feed, but could take up to a few hours. CTT, e-obs, Followit Wildlife, HQXS, KoEco, madebytheo, Microwave and Ornitela will provide all existing data for each tag by default. Import of older tag data is in progress for VECTRONIC tags. For MoveTech tags, you can choose the date from which data for each tag should be added. Older data will not automatically be transferred from Fleetronic or Telonics, but can be imported as a custom tabular csv file.

To make changes to an existing feed,

  • If you are deploying additional tags, contact the provider with the required information as described above.

  • Go to the Studies page and log in to Movebank.

  • Select your provider name from under Live feeds. You will see a summary of your feed activity.

  • To change what tags are in the feed, select Add/remove tags. A window will open showing a list of available Tag IDs.

  • Select Add all tags, or select individual Tag IDs and click on or to add or remove tags from the list of Selected tags.

  • Select Save.

Note: Access to tags in data feeds is administered by the data provider as described above. Users with permission to manage a data feed might not be the same as the users who are Data Managers for a study. If you will have multiple Movebank users editing a feed, each of these users must have permission from the provider to access the data for the tags. If a user without access to tags attempts to edit the feed, the feed may stop collecting new data. You will receive a warning before making any changes that might affect the current feed.

Next steps

Once you have set up a subscription,

For studies that include the full set of original data from the tags, it is especially useful to understand the concepts of deployments and outliers in Movebank. For more about other features and tools for your study, see the data management and analysis section of this manual.

Note: Movebank relies on the Tag IDs sent by the providers to relate new data to tags in your study, so please do not change the Tag IDs for subscribed tags.

Timing and frequency of feed updates

We understand that receiving new data quickly can be critical, for example while in the field. The timing and frequency of feed updates depends on a number of factors:

  • the timing of data transmissions from your tag to the data provider;
  • the timing and frequency of updates sent by each data provider to Movebank's servers (in the case of Argos feeds, Movebank will access and import new data to your study every ~6 hours); and
  • the speed at which received data are imported to your study after Movebank receives them.

Movebank offers these data feeds as a free service and does not guarantee uninterrupted data access to data feeds, as described in our User Agreement. We make ongoing updates to the feed system to optimize processing and minimize delays in importing new data after we receive it. As of September 2019, the average time to import new feed data is 5 minutes, with a lag of around 50 minutes at the highest-traffic time of the day. Because Movebank does not use cloud storage, we can also be impacted by downtime or performance issues at the Max Planck Institute computing center where Movebank's servers are stored. If you need to receive new data more quickly or reliably than described here, we suggest talking with your tag provider about options, for example timing data transfer to Movebank to coincide with your tag transmissions, or for a more direct notification system that does not rely on receipt and import of data by Movebank.


Create a study and add data

Create a study

Create and manage live data feeds

  Argos feeds

  Live feed notifications

Import supported data formats

Import custom tabular data

Import reference data

Update existing data

Upload file attachments

Help with data uploads