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Accessing the bird tracking data with CartoDB

Introduction

The best way to access our bird tracking data is via our standardized, documented, published, and GBIF-registered Darwin Core Archive:

title published at registered at issue tracker
Bird tracking - GPS tracking of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls breeding at the Belgian coast INBO IPT GBIF GitHub

But for those who prefer, we have also made our public bird tracking data available through CartoDB, an open source tool to visualize and analyze geospatial data on the web. CartoDB allows users to query the data using SQL via the CartoDB API or download these in various formats (csv, shp, kml, svg, and geosjon). The data are made available as two tables: bird_tracking and bird_tracking_devices. We also released a small sample dataset tracking_eric, containing 2 months of tracking data from one individual.

Tracked species

We are currently tracking 3 species over 2 projects:

vernacular name scientific name family species code published dataset
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus Laridae lbbg bird-tracking-gull-occurrences
Herring Gull Larus argentatus Laridae hg bird-tracking-gull-occurrences
Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus Accipitridae wmh

More information

tracking_eric table

This table contains two months of tracking data from one individual: Lesser Black-backed Gull Eric. As the dataset only contains 25,483 records and a limited number of fields, it is a good test dataset. We visualized these data and explained how we did it in this blog post. All Eric's data are included in the overall bird_tracking table.

Public access

Fields

field name type description
cartodb_id number ID generated by CartoDB on record creation.
the_geom geometry Point (geometry) of the occurrence, generated by CartoDB from longitude and latitude on record creation.
the_geom_webmercator geometry Hidden field, generated by CartoDB from the_geom on record alteration, but with webmercator datum. Used to draw points on the map.
date_time date UTC timestamp recorded by the GPS tracker.
day_of_year number The day of the year of date_time.
duration_in_seconds number Number of seconds between this and the previous occurrence. The calculation is explained in this blog post.
distance_in_meters number Distance in meters between this and the previous occurrence.
created_at date UTC timestamp generated by CartoDB on record creation.
updated_at date UTC timestamp generated by CartoDB on record alteration.

bird_tracking table

This table contains all public occurrences recorded by the GPS trackers. The data are imported every 6 months or so from the gps.ee_tracking_speed_limited view in the UvA-BiTS virtual lab. Test records are removed and outliers flagged (see import procedure).

Public access

Fields

field name type description
cartodb_id number ID generated by CartoDB on record creation.
the_geom geometry Point (geometry) of the occurrence, generated by CartoDB from longitude and latitude on record creation.
the_geom_webmercator geometry Hidden field, generated by CartoDB from the_geom on record alteration, but with webmercator datum. Used to draw points on the map.
altitude number Altitude in meters above sea level recorded by the GPS tracker.
date_time date UTC timestamp recorded by the GPS tracker.
device_info_serial number ID of the GPS tracker and foreign key to bird_tracking_devices table.
direction number Heading in degrees (0 is north, 90 is east).
gps_fixtime number Time to get a GPS fix in seconds.
h_accuracy number Horizontal accuracy in meters.
latitude number WGS84 latitude recorded by the GPS tracker.
longitude number WGS84 longitude recorded by the GPS tracker.
occurrenceid text A unique, stable identifier for each record.
satellites_used number Number of satellites used to get a GPS fix.
speed_accuracy number
temperature number Temperature recorded by the GPS tracker in degrees Celsius.
userflag boolean True for outliers, which are automatically flagged on import (see import procedure).
v_accuracy number Vertical accuracy in meters.
x_speed number meters per second
y_speed number meters per second
z_speed number meters per second
created_at date UTC timestamp generated by CartoDB on record creation.
updated_at date UTC timestamp generated by CartoDB on record alteration.

bird_tracking_devices table

This manually maintained reference table contains information on the GPS trackers and the individual birds these are mounted on. Thus far, there is a one-one relationship between device and bird.

Public access

Fields

field name type description
cartodb_id number ID generated by CartoDB on record creation.
the_geom geometry Point (geometry) of the estimated catch position, generated by CartoDB from longitude and latitude on record creation.
the_geom_webmercator geometry Hidden field, generated by CartoDB from the_geom on record alteration, but with webmercator datum. Used to draw points on the map.
bird_name string Name given to individual bird by the researcher.
catch_location string Name of area where the bird was catched. Gulls are catched on nest, so this is can be considered their colony location. Harriers are catched near their nest, so this can be considered their home range for at least the first year.
catch_weight number Weight of the individual bird in grams when catched.
colour_ring_code string Code of the coloured leg ring on the individual bird.
device_info_serial number ID of the GPS tracker. Used to link with bird_tracking table
is_active boolean False if individual bird is confirmed or likely dead, or if we assume tracker is no longer active.
latitude number WGS84 latitude of the estimated catch position.
longitude number WGS84 longitude of the estimated catch position.
project_leader string Project leader of the research project for which this trackers are used.
remarks string Remarks by the researcher regarding the tracker or bird.
ring_code string Code of the metal leg ring on the individual bird.
scientific_name string Species name of the individual bird.
sex string Sex of the individual bird.
species_code string Code for the species for which these trackers are used.
tracking_ended_at date UTC timestamp for when tracking is no longer (considered) operational.
tracking_started_at date UTC timestamp for when tracking is (considered) operational (= somewhat later than tagging). Used to exclude pre-tracking test records during import.
created_at date UTC timestamp generated by CartoDB on record creation.
updated_at date UTC timestamp generated by CartoDB on record alteration.

License

All data are released to the public domain under a CC0 waiver. This allows you to use these freely, but we would appreciate it if you follow these norms.

Contact information

You can reach us: