Skip to main content

Importing reference data about animals, tags, and deployments

You can import reference data (sometimes referred to as metadata) as a table or tables describing animals, tags, or deployments before or after adding your location data. Alternatively, you can add and edit reference data within Movebank using the Deployment Manager. If you have a lot of reference data, many data files, or complicated deployments, you may want to add the reference data prior to uploading your tracking data files.

Your data must be provided as text files with tabular data, such as csv or tab-delimited files. A template reference data file can be downloaded from the bottom of this page. Be aware that importing a reference data file will overwrite any reference data already in the study. If you have reference data in your study already, you can download this and use it as your template for making changes or updates:

  • 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 Download > Download reference data.
  • Choose a file format.

To begin import of a reference data file, from your study, select Upload data > Import data > Reference data about animals, tracking tags, or deployments. You can choose whether to upload your reference data in a standard Movebank format or a custom format. Custom data can be uploaded for animals, tags, deployments, or a combination of the three. Attributes can include details about the deployments (e.g., start and end times, comments), the animals (e.g., sex, date of birth) and the tags (e.g., model, weight). See the Movebank attribute dictionary for a description of reference data terms that are currently supported.

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 which show the content of your file as Movebank sees it and a preview of how it will be saved in Movebank. Use these tables to ensure that your reference data are interpreted correctly.

The interface allows you to map each attribute of your reference data file to the Movebank format. Depending on what you have already uploaded to your study, you may be required to map one or more of these before you can import the file.

Movebank-reference-data-template.xls45.5 KB