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Importing custom tabular data

The following instructions describe how to upload data sets for which Movebank does not have an automated upload option. If you are uploading a data set for which Movebank has an automated upload option, see uploading supported standard formats below. If you want to add additional attributes to data you have already imported, see adding attributes to an existing study.

To begin, prepare your data in a delimited tabular text file format. When your file is ready,

  • Log in to Movebank and go to Tracking Data Map > Studies.
  • Type in the name of your study (or create a new study) and select the name from the list on the left to view the study details.
  • Select Upload dataImport data from the menu on the Studies page.

You can upload custom tabular data files using the following options:

Tracking data

  • GPS data > custom GPS data
  • Argos Doppler data > processed Argos data (csv format)
  • Processed solar geolocator data > other geolocator data
  • Radiotelemetry (VHF) data
  • Other location data

Accessory data

  • Light-level data
  • Other accessory data collected by your tags

"Tracking data" refers to data with location estimates provided by the following sensor types: GPS, Argos Doppler shift, bird ring, natural mark, radio transmitter, or solar geolocator. "Accessory data" refers to measurements reported by non-location sensors (acceleration, barometer, magnetometer, or solar geolocator raw) or other measurements that have different timestamps than those of the location or primary sensor records ("accessory measurements").

If you have already uploaded custom tabular data to the same study and saved the file format, Movebank will ask if you would like to use a previously saved file format. After selecting an upload option, choose the file to upload and select Upload. You will then be prompted to confirm that you are permitted to upload the data.

The upload interface displays two tables that show the content of your file as Movebank sees it and a preview of how it will be saved in Movebank. You can also preview locations on a map. Use these previews to ensure that your data are interpreted correctly. During the upload you will map each attribute of your data file to the Movebank format. At minimum, you must map date/time, tag identifiers and sensor type. Other requirements will depend on the sensor type, e.g. location sensors (GPS, Argos Doppler shift, bird ring, natural mark, radio transmitter and solar geolocator) must include location coordinates and light-level sensors require light levels.