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DynamoVis is a data visualization software specifically targeted for spatiotemporal movement data. It is developed by Move Lab @ UC Santa Barbara and designed to be accessible and easily usable for scientists without extensive prior experience with programming, GIS software, or custom data visualization tools. The intuitive design focuses on a simple interface for scientists to apply spatial data visualization techniques, giving ecologists and biologists of all backgrounds the power to visualize complicated spatial patterns.

Dodge, S., Toka, M. & Bae, C.J. DynamoVis 1.0: an exploratory data visualization software for mapping movement in relation to internal and external factors. Mov Ecol 9, 55 (2021).

- An animation of the user interface using Galapagos Albatross movement data with various basemaps and visualization parameters.


  1. Make sure to have Java 15 installed and set up in your system or user PATH.

    • To check Java version, start Terminal and type java -version. The version listed should be 15 or higher.
  2. Download the latest release ( here.

  3. Unzip the folder anywhere on your machine.

  4. Double-click on DynamoVis-1.0.jar

    • If this doesn't do anything:
      • (Windows) Double-click on run_windows.bat
      • (macOS) Start Terminal, type cd (with a white space). Drag and drop the DynamoVis folder on the terminal window and press enter. Type ./ or bash run_unix.shand press enter.
  5. If your system shows a security pop up from an unidentified developer, it is safe to ignore it.

    • (Windows) On the security pop up More info -> Run anyway.
    • (macOS) Click OK on the security pop up to close it. Then go into your System Preferences > Security & Privacy and then click Open Anyway next to the message that DynamoVis-1.0.jar was blocked.
  6. The DynamoVis software will open with the initial Input Data and Animation Configuration and Status windows.

Alternatively, you can also run the jar file from Terminal using below command in extracted folder:

 java -jar DynamoVis-1.0.jar

See 'Compile from source' section below for notes on compiling the software from scratch.

Use cases

Turkey vulture data set

- An exported animation of the turkey vulture Leo on Microsoft Aerial basemap. It shows the foraging behavior of Leo -- moving slowly or pausing in high-vegetation areas (NDVI), shown with bright green circles.

- Another exported track animation of turkey vulture Leo displayed on Esri World Terrain basemap. The thicker purple line visualizes thermal uplift that aids the bird to move faster. The thin underlay lines shows the prior movement of Leo, hinting its commonly-travelled routes

Galapagos albatrosses data set

- An set of exported animations of one Galapagos albatross track (4264-84830852) displayed on Esri World Terrain basemap, illustrating the relationship between the movement speed and wind support. The left visualization highlights the use of higher tail-wind support (shown in blue color) for faster outbound flights (shown with thicker lines), and the right map shows the actual wind direction using vectors of variable size.

- Another animation of the albatross (4264-84830852) displayed on the Microsoft Aerial basemap. The visualization highlights the relationship between net primary production (NPP) of the ocean and albatross movement speed. The albatross appears to move slowly (smaller point size) or make frequent stops along the coast of Peru to forage in high NPP areas (shown in darker green colors). The bird appears to fly faster (larger point size) during the flights over the ocean and around the Galapagos where ocean NPP is lower (lighter green colors).


./config/ directory stores extra files that are useful for the use case of the software.

  • RememberedHeaders.txt stores the names of the required fields for DynamoVis to function properly. Upon loading data to the software, the header names of the unique identifier, latitiude, longitude and timestamp will be recorded in this file for future reference. Successive loading of the same file will use information recorded in this file.

  • EnvDATA-variables.csv keeps the details of known fields, commonly used by EnvData system.

  • DiscardedFields.txt hold a list of columns (or fields) in the data that is discarded by DynamoVis. Feel free to add more fields in your local copy to prevent loading unnecessary fields to your animations.

  • ./color/ and ./legend/ folders keeps a copy of the custom color ramps and legend layouts.


  title={DynamoVis 1.0: an exploratory data visualization software for mapping movement in relation to internal and external factors},
  author={Dodge, Somayeh and Toka, Mert and Bae, Crystal J},
  journal={Movement Ecology},


We distribute copies of Galapagos Albatrosses and Turkey Vultures data sets along with the repository in ./public-data directory.

Project Sponsor

Award BCS # 1853681
PI: Somayeh Dodge


Feel free to open an issue in case something is wrong. Please make sure to note the description of the issue and your computer specifications (operating system, java version, error messages, etc.).

Compile from source

If you'd like to clone the repository and compile from the source, make sure to have Git Large File System installed and enabled. Git-LFS is required for large *.csv files. If you don't want to install Git-LFS, you will need to clone the repository and manually download .csv files in /config and /public-data.

Tested on:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 11
  • macOS 10.14.6 Mojave
  • macOS 10.15 Catalina

w/ Java 15.0.2

List of developers

  • Mert Toka
  • Glenn Xavier
  • Wing Yi (Pinki) Wong
  • Kate Carlson
  • Kin (Nathan) Chan