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View data in the Acceleration Viewer

To view acceleration data in the Movebank Acceleration Viewer, go to File > Open downloaded data. You will see a list of entity IDs you have already downloaded data for. (If no data are available, you will want to download data from Movebank in the Acceleration Viewer.)

Select the entity you want to view and click Open. For this example, I will use data for a wild duck (Anas platyrhynchos) collected by researchers at Linnaeus University and Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Waldenström et al. unpublished).

Viewing acceleration data

The entire set of data are displayed as a graph in the window, showing acceleration over time. The jagged lines taking up most of the screen are the acceleration data, with one color for each axis: red is X, green is Y, and blue is Z. (The orientation of each axis depends on how the tag was attached to the animal.) The golden bars at the top mark when GPS fixes were taken.

To see the data in more detail, you can zoom in and out in time by scrolling with your mouse, and move forward or backward in time by putting your cursor on the image, holding down the left mouse key, and dragging the cursor to the left or right. Once you zoom in far enough, you will be able to see individual bursts (separated by vertical gray lines) and samples within the burst. As you move the cursor over the window (without clicking), the sample number and the time it was recored (in UTC) will be displayed in the lower left corner.

Viewing GPS and acceleration data

The next obvious step is to see where the animal was as the acceleration data were recorded. To do this, select Show Earth. A new window will open displaying the track on a map with satellite imagery.

Now, click on an interesting part of the acceleration data. The map will display the location, coordinates, and time of the nearest GPS fix.

Use the arrow icons below the menu (also located under Navigate) to jump between GPS fixes. You can also click along the track on the map to jump to the corresponding acceleration data.

Viewing daytime and nighttime data

It can be helpful to see whether data were collected during the day or night (remember that all the timestamps shown are in UTC and not local time, which could change as the animal moves).

Click on Show Night/Day.

The Acceleration Viewer determines night and day by calculating the solar elevation angle for each GPS fix, and assigning negative angles as night and positive angles as day. The graph will be shaded in purple where nighttime GPS fixes were recorded, and a new window will open with a table of the results.

You can click on a table row to jump to a GPS fix in the graph, or click on the graph to jump to the corresponding row in the table.

As you begin to explore in more detail, you might want to assign categories to sections of the acceleration data—to label different behaviours, for example. To do this, in the next section we'll learn how to annotate acceleration data.