Import supported standard formats

Movebank can automatically read and import many common formats, allowing users to import data in just a few steps. You can also import custom tabular data files or subscribe to data feeds.

We recommend checking data after import to ensure quality control. If you receive an error during import and are unsure of the cause, see here for solutions to common formatting issues. Contact for further assistance.

Starting the import

When your file is ready,

From here, you can import files using supported standard formats with the following options:

Tracking data: These options are for files that primarily include location data, and in some cases include additional sensor data.

  • GPS data > e-obs data: for logger.bin files from e-obs GPS and multi-sensor tags

  • GPS data > Microwave GPS data: for raw DS or decoded .csv files from PTT-GPS tags from Microwave Telemetry

  • GPS data > GeoTrak GPS data (raw DS files): for raw DS files from PTT-GPS tags from GeoTrak

  • GPS data > Sirtrack GPS data (logger collar): for Lotek NZ (formerly Sirtrack) GPS logger collars

  • GPS data > Lotek GPS data: for data files from Lotek GPS tags, GPS_4000 series and later

  • GPS data > TechnoSmart GPS data: for GPS and multi-sensor data from Gipsy-4, Gypsy-5 and Axi-Trek formats from TechnoSmart. Files must be exported from TechnoSmart's software in the Movebank-specific format as described in their user manual.

  • GPS data > KoEco GPS data: for data files from KoEco in .csv format

  • Argos Doppler data > Raw Argos DIAG data: for data from any Argos PTT in Argos' DIAG format

  • Argos Doppler data > Processed Argos data (CSV format): for Argos diagnostic data converted from Argos' DIAG format to CSV (see Argos data files below)

  • Processed solar geolocator data > BAS trajectory data: for comma-delimited .trj files output by the BirdTracker software used to process data from archival solar (light-level) geolocators developed by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Lotek UK (formerly Biotrack) (see BAS geolocator data below)

Accessory data: This option is for files that contain other animal-borne sensor data, typically recorded on a different schedule than location data, or as part of sensor deployments that do not result in location data.

  • Heart rate data > e-obs ECG data: for logger.bin files from e-obs ECG tags

Completing the import

After selecting one of the supported standard formats listed above, select Browse, navigate to the file, and select Upload. You will be asked to confirm that you have permission to upload the file:

After the file has uploaded, in some cases you will have two options: * Upload as a background process: Read the file and import data with no further user input (can be preferred for large files). * Interactive upload: Read the file and preview the data prior to import to view and customize how attributes are mapped.

If you chose to upload as a background process, after selecting OK the import will begin and you will see the File Details for the new file indicating the Import status. Large files may take time to import, and will say "pending". Click Refresh or return to the File Details later to monitor progress. Once the import is complete, you will see a summary of the imported data.

If you chose an interactive upload, after selecting OK an import interface will appear. It 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 the data in a map view. Use these previews to ensure that your data are interpreted correctly. If your file matches the standard format exactly, your attributes will be correctly mapped under How Movebank will save the data. If there are slight differences, you may need to make corrections—for example, change the CSV parameter settings if your file uses a different delimiter, specify units if they have been converted, or add additional attributes you may have in your file. Once everything is correct, select Finish. For more information, see the instructions for importing custom tabular data.

Argos data files

Argos provides Doppler-based location estimates, along with a set of diagnostic variables, in a format common to all Argos tags (PTTs). Original DIAG-format files, these can be read and imported automatically, as described above. For original diagnostic data accessed from Argos in XML format, contact us at for help decoding and importing files. For more about Argos' data formats see the Argos user manual. If you have data that have already been decoded and processed, save this in a tabular CSV format and import following these steps:

In addition, you can import the Argos error radius, GDOP, satellite ID and error ellipse parameters.

  • To review, correct or add attribute mappings, see instructions for importing custom tabular data.

  • After importing Argos Doppler-based locations, you can use filters to improve location estimates and exclude low-quality locations.

Note: Missing DIAG values: If your data files no longer contain all the DIAG variables, but you want to use the Argos filters, see here for recommended filler values that should be mapped while preparing the data import.

Note: Argos timestamps: The Argos user manual states that day and time are provided in UTC. We are aware of one exception to this: If you download your data from, you will be asked to select a time zone (the default is GMT). If you select a time zone other than GMT or UTC, any data you download will have the day and time in the chosen time zone, including daylight savings time when applicable. Once the data have been downloaded in this format, the file contains no information to indicate that the day and time are not in UTC. Therefore, there is no way for Movebank to automatically detect this and correct for the time difference. If you have obtained Argos data in this way using a local time zone, you will need to convert the timestamps to UTC prior to importing them to Movebank.

BAS geolocator data

After beginning the data import as described above, you should only need to define the animal and/or tag associated with the data file. Movebank maps the BirdTracker attribute "stationary latitude" to Movebank's location lat attribute, and also maps the BirdTracker's stationary and compensated latitudes to the BAS-specific attributes BAS compensated latitude and [BAS stationary latitude](( To review, correct or add attribute mappings, see instructions for importing custom tabular data.

Note: When storing geolocator data on Movebank, we recommend also storing the original light-level data and twilight selections as described in the light-level geolocation analyses manual (Lisovski et al. 2019).

Next steps

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