discussion / Biologging  / 28 April 2021

Creating a global database for drift data from pop-up satellite tags

Hello all,

My name is Arnault Le Bris and I am a research scientist at the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

I have been working for several years on tracking Atlantic halibut in the Northwest Atlantic using pop-up satellite archival tags. Recently I have been thinking of storing the Argos locations transmitted by PSATs once they surface on an online repository, so that they can be freely available to oceanographers. Indeed, data on tag locations while they drift at the surface could be useful to validate ocean (surface) circulation models.

As the idea was emerging, I thought it could be interesting to reach out to the global community of PSATs users to see if we could combine all “drift” data into one single database that would be stored on an open access, free repository with an accompanying research paper.

So here are my questions to the community:

Are you aware of any similar initiatives (completed or ongoing)? If yes, I would appreciate contact information as I don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

Are you interested to collaborate and contribute your tags “drift” data to this project? If yes, please put your name, contact info, and general data info on the excel Google document here:


Looking forward to your feedback.


Hi Arnault,

I know a couple of repositories for telemetry data. Check out Ocean Tracking Network and Animal Telemetry Network here and here. I know Ocean Tracking Network takes acoustic telemetry data but I'm not sure about other types. The Animal Telemetry Network takes all kinds of telemetry data but is U.S.-focused. However, if you're working with a species that migrates or uses waters near the U.S. they may be interested in the data. 


Hello Arnault, 

I am happy to offer some thoughts to this discussion. 

Shortly after I started here with Argos (WHGRP/CLS) I looked into the exact thing you are mentioning for the same reasons. Because we cannot openly share user data even if it's just post pop-up track information, I hit immediate resistance and gave up the idea. 

With that said, I'd be happy to support your effort in any way I can. If you are interested, I can check with our communication team to see what we can do...perhaps we can notify all of the Argos users (worldwide) about your initiative. 

In the interim, I can tell you that there are no specific initiatives that look at the tracks after release, unfortunately. It is also worth noting that most of the pop-up tags only last for a few days to weeks (there is one exception on the market that can go days to years), and with that said I can imagine a few thousand data sets out there that never looked at that specific segment of the data. I hope you enjoy data...lol