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Managing geolocator data in Movebank

Movebank provides special support for solar geolocator data. Solar geolocators are loggers that are attached to animals that collect light levels, which are used to estimate the location and movement of the animal using special software programs. These tags are commonly used for tracking small migrating birds and many marine species (read more about this and other animal tracking methods here). The animal tracks that come from geolocators are very sensitive to how the light-level data are processed—therefore, it is important not only to store the location data, but also the light-level data, to allow development and testing of better processing methods.

To add geolocator data to Movebank, begin by registering and logging in at Next, create a new study. From the Studies page you can

Add raw light-level and derived tracking data

From the Upload data option in the Studies page, you can import .trj files from British Antarctic Survey geolocators or other tabular data files containing light-level data or derived tracks using a flexible interface.

Add reference data

Reference data includes extra details about animals, tags, and deployments in your study. Here you can include a description of calibration methods; provide the release and recapture locations; add details about the sensor; define the calibration method, light threshold, sun elevation angle, and processing software used to derive location estimates; and add other terms listed in the Movebank Attribute Dictionary.

Add file attachments

To complete your study, you can upload file attachments such as documents describing how the tags were calibrated and how the data were processed. These might include scripts or code, photographs, or text descriptions.

What to do with your solar geolocator data after they are in Movebank

Movebank offers a variety of tools to help you work with and share your data. Flexible permissions options allow you to keep your data to yourself, share them with collaborators, or make them available to the public. You can easily view your tracks on a map, download tracks for use with Google Earth or ArcGIS, or link your movement data to hundreds of environmental parameters from global remote sensing datasets and weather models using the Env-DATA System. If you want to formally archive your dataset, you can submit it for publication in the Movebank Data Repository, a public online archive hosted at the University of Konstanz.