IOSEA Satellite Tracking Metadatabase – User Guide

NB: The database search functions are optimised for use with Internet Explorer.  

Summary statistics for the metadatabase are listed at the top of the screen, including the number of records (projects) in the database and the number of animals tracked (broken down by species, sex and age class.

The database is updated periodically in order to align it with near real-time information contained in the tracking system.  


Two categories of searches are possible:

The basic search allows one to search for satellite tracks by individual country, multiple countries, or all countries in the database; as well as specific areas within some countries (eg. Australia, Oman) where project areas are differentiated.  Within the menus, ‘control-click’ allows one to select multiple countries or areas.

Users can search on all species (= default) or on individual species; on all age classes ( = default) or select either adults or juveniles (including sub-adults); and on sex (any sex = default).

One can also specify the year of deployment of the transmitter (or a range of years); and specify whether or not the transmitter is still active or inactive.

The search is generated by clicking on the SUBMIT button, and the results appear below.  Search criteria are cleared by clicking the RESET button.


An advanced search function – accessed by clicking “Show / Hide Advanced Search” – allows the user to probe the metadata in more depth.

One can indicate a range of dates within which transmitters have been reported to be active. This would be useful to identify, for example, all projects whose transmitters are reported to still be active over the past three months.

If one is interested particularly in projects with a transmitter that has been active for an exceptionally long time, one can search on ‘transmission duration’ (range, in days).  For example, specifying 365-730 days in the “Longest signal” boxes will generate a listing of all projects with at least one transmitter that was/has been active for one to two years.

On the other hand, to generate a listing of projects with unusually short transmission times (perhaps indicative of a problem with the deployment, that might be interesting to pursue with the project team), one can specify in the “Shortest signal” boxes a range with low values, for instance 1-21 days.  (The results of this particular search will need to be revealed in a separate step, described below.)

Some of the records in the database have been compiled from information in published papers, whereas others are compiled simply from metadata contained on (which may or may not have an associated publication).  One can differentiate between the two

sources using the ‘Published Paper’ option.  Finally, one can select projects that have links to external websites, including  Note that any links to are filtered through a “permission page”, unless a ‘cookie’ has already been set on the user’s computer.


Search results (up to 20 per page) are displayed in a table immediately below the selection criteria.  There are three levels of information for each record.

The basic results display comprises a project title, country of transmitter deployment, tracking period, species, number of animals tracked, longest signal (of all those tracked by the project), an indication of whether the signal is still active or not, and a link to an external website (as applicable).

The country, tracking period, species, longest signal and active columns can be sorted (ascending or descending) using the appropriate arrows.  For the initial search, the default sort is by country and year of transmitter deployment within each country.   The user may choose to reorder the search results, thereafter, according to one’s interest.

Clicking on the toggle icon to the immediate left of the Project Title reveals additional information on the project team, including contact email, partners and sponsors (if known); together with more detailed information on the actual transmitter deployment, as follows:
general indication of the migration area(s), number of animals of each age class / sex, shortest transmission signal, archive status, and availability of any associated publication.

Each record can be opened and closed individually, or all at once using the toggle switch next to the RESULTS heading. 

Clicking on any Project Title opens a new page with a comprehensive information sheet for that particular project, including a detailed description of the project activities (where available).  The information sheet can be printed before returning to the main search page.

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