By default Movebank's Tracking Data Map displays the earth with dots marking study reference locations (study markers). These study markers are color-coded to indicate the user’s access Permissions for each study:

Only the study name and summary information are visible to the public.

One or more animal tracks can also be viewed.

All animal tracks can be viewed.

This same color scheme is used for the boxes next to each study in the study list. If a user (or if the viewer is not logged in, the public) does not have permission to view the study name and summary, the study will not appear on the map or list.

You can choose to view tracks from a study by selecting it from the list on the Map page, or by selecting View > Show in Map from a study selected from the Studies page. When you select a study, the study marker will be outlined in pink and animal locations from the study will appear as small pink points on the map. If you select a point or points, blue lines showing the trajectory for the related track/s (that is, all locations in the deployment/s) appear. The starting point of a track is shown with a red cross, the ending point with a green cross. Use the zoom icons in the results list to zoom to the bounding box of the selected study or deployment.

Use these features to visualize and explore your data:

  • Options: alter the display settings of your data

  • More tools: zoom in and share your map

  • Basemaps: Toggle between GoogleMaps and OpenStreetMaps and Bing

The Options Menu

  • Draw study markers: Display or hide all study reference locations (selected by default).

  • Draw lines for selected animals: Connect all data points of the selected (visible) tracks with gray lines and arrows indicating the direction of movement (not selected by default).

  • Draw lines for highlighted animals: Connect all data points of highlighted tracks with blue lines and arrows indicating the direction of movement (selected by default).

  • Draw density: Calculate and display the density distribution of either data points or deployments (each deployment contains one animal, and a study can contain multiple deployments for the same animal). This option includes data for all deployments in the selected study or studies, regardless of whether or not points or lines for deployments are displayed on the map. If your data include different sampling rates, then the point density will be biased towards deployments with higher sampling rates. In this case, deployment density might be more useful.

  • Point size: Change the size of location points (Small is selected by default).

  • Color schema: Change the line color of highlighted tracks (Pink/Blue is selected by default).

More tools:

  • Use the rectangle selector tool to select multiple individual tracks. Display tracks with a study (or studies) of interest, then click on this icon and use your mouse to draw a rectangle around the area of interest. All tracks that intersect with the selected area will be highlighted on the map and in the results list.

  • Use the rectangle zoom tool to zoom into an area on the map. Click on the icon and use your mouse to draw a frame around the area you want to see. The map will zoom in to display this area.

  • Use the link tool to create a URL that you can cut and paste elsewhere. Following the link will load the same map view and tracks that are visible when you click the icon.


Movebank offers the option to use basemaps from Google Maps, OpenStreetMaps and Bing.

  • To view Google Maps, select . Icons in the upper left let you choose between their standard base map (Map, with or without terrain) and satellite imagery (Satellite, with or without labels).
  • To view OpenStreetMaps and Bing, select . Then select to view a list of available maps, including OpenStreetMap, OpenCycleMap, and Bing road, aerial and hybrid maps.

When toggling between the Google Maps and Open Layers options, the map will reload to the default view of study markers and you will need to navigate back to selected studies and tracks. If using screenshots from the Tracking Data Map for presentations or publications, please be sure to read and follow the terms of use for the basemap provider.

Tracking Data Map

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