article / 19 July 2022

Firetail 9 released - for GPS/acceleration/sensor data

Quick overview of Firetail 9

I am glad to announce that Firetail 9 is available now from

We've been pushing forward the development of Firetail along this communities' user stories in the past, so I am very curious to hear about your experiences/problems/ideas (link: support form, yet feel free to contact me here) for our upcoming releases. 

Maybe your favorite tag vendor is not yet supported or you are missing some feature crucial for daily routines? Let me know...


So, what's new in Release 9?  

Apart from general stability improvements and an improved loading speed for large-scale csv datasets, I would like to highlight a few aspects:

Firetail 9 now features a simple exchange format for annotation data, i.e. you can now overlay your own predictions or gold standards, see them in context with FireSOM predictions, export/import and share them (and of course save it along with locally synced Movebank projects as usual).

external annotation overlay

It boils down to the following simple columns:

category, layer, start-timestamp, end-timestamp


Many of you wanted a way to annotate stand-alone GPS data, so, here it is. Open a Movebank project and create empty bursts around GPS fixes, then, annotate as usual:

create empty bursts to annotate GPS fixes


This has been around for a while, still worth pointing this out: Firetail's machine learning toolset FireSOM can assist you when annotating full-scale, long-term tracking datasets by predicting behavioral categories that can then be edited/re-assigned/deleted. You can even select categories in an existing layer and re-predict selected segments down to the burst level.

annotated acceleration data
FireSOM - segmentation of acceleration data

4. shape file (shp/kml) overlays [this is beta state - there is a wide range of formats out there, so notify us if yours fail to load]

shape sample overlay from


5. Improved support for next gen tags by Technosmart, Ornitela acceleration sensors (with burst detection), Argos, African Wildlife Tracking and many more

6. You can now select multiple Movebank deployments/tags/individuals from a project and download/incrementally update/range query all at once with common parameters.

batch download
Download parameters for batch downloads

Many other details have been improved (like the revised settings dialog), but this may be fine to get started.

Roughly three month from now, Firetail 10 is up. As always, shaped by your input. Here are some aspects we are already on 

  • a reporting module for conservation projects*
  • sub-burst level behavioral prediction (hint: take a look at the Advanced tab of FireSOM)
  • enhanced data overlays (Movebank ENV data) with track visuals
  • 3d histogram visuals for acceleration data

*) samples/ideas and crucial stats you wish to see there are very welcome!

and quite a bit more...

Is Firetail 9 free?

It is free for smaller projects (up to 100K GPS samples and 1 million acceleration samples). Larger projects do require a full license. Revenues almost completely flow back to development and improvements of Firetail and support for your projects (for users of both full and free editions). 

Bachelor and Master students with no independent funding may contact me, we have some contingent of temporary licenses covered by our Firetail Scholarship Program.

Have fun experimenting with Firetail. Curious to hear your thoughts!

(Firetail Dev Team)


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