Update or add attributes to existing data records

To add attributes to, or update values for existing attributes in, event records that have already been imported to Movebank, you can do so by matching either the event ID or the tag ID and timestamp attributes from the data in your study and the file you are uploading. The easiest way to do this is typically to download a .csv file of the data from your study in Movebank format, add the new attribute/s and values to this file, and then upload the Movebank-format file with the new attribute/s. The file only needs to contain the event ID or the tag ID and timestampattributes and the attribute/s you are adding. When you are ready to upload the new attribute/s to Movebank,

  • Go to the Studies page and log in to Movebank.
  • Search or select your study from the list on the left to view the Study Details.
  • Updating values for existing attributes will overwrite values already in the study. We recommend that you download a copy of the current data to avoid losing information in case of unexpected results.
  • Select Upload > Import data > Add attributes to, or update, existing tracking data from the Studies menu.
  • Select whether to Match existing records by Movebank event ID (when re-importing data in Movebank standard format; best option for updating timestamps with formatting or timezone errors) or Match existing records by tag ID and timestamp.
  • 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 that show the content of your file as Movebank sees it and a preview of how it will be saved in Movebank. The lower table, How Movebank will save the data, will appear after you have mapped an attribute from your data file to the Movebank format.

  • First, define the event ID or tag ID and timestamp attributes in your original data file, depending on which option you chose above. You can do this by clicking on a column header from the table under What Movebank sees in your file and choosing the relevant option from Map column or selecting a field from the list of required mappings. The mapped column will appear under How Movebank will save the data; an additional column, Matched, will verify whether the values were successfully found in the data file and mapped.
  • Next, map the new attribute/s to Movebank by clicking on the appropriate column header from the table under What Movebank sees in your file or choosing the relevant option from Map Column.
  • Updating Timestamps: for formatting, alter the Format string. (eg month & day were switched; change yyyy/MM/dd HH:mm:ss.SSS to yyyy/dd/MM HH:mm:ss.SSS) for timezone, corrective action depends on what error was made during upload; to confirm you have corrected the timezone, look at the Timestamp column under How Movebank will save the data and check that the timestamps shown are in UTC 0. (eg a location at 06:00:00 EST should read as 11:00:00 when the Timezone offset has been mapped correctly.)
  • Once you have added all new attributes, select Finish. You will have the option of saving your file format.

Please note that the file you upload to update your records may show "0" for Number of Locations and "Not imported" for Import status. Once the Processing Status in the Study Details reads "Up-to-date" you can check your data in the Event Editor to ensure that the changes you made were employed.

See the Movebank attribute dictionary for a list of attributes accepted by Movebank. This list is not static and will grow over time. If you cannot find a particular attribute in the list, select Request attribute from the upload interface and fill out the form that appears or contact us at support@movebank.org.

If you receive an error message, please see Formatting issues for a list of common problems and solutions.

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