discussion / Biologging  / 30 March 2023

Real-time Animal Location Data Sources?

Hello All,

I'm pretty new to WILDLABS and have really enjoyed the last two Variety Hours.

I just started a PhD in creative technology & design at ATLAS Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder. I have a background in design, data visualisation, and creating tools for citizen science.

I am interested in accessing real-time location data of animals (plus other environmental data), and building some novel interfaces and visualisation of the data (probably using robots or augmented reality).

I am aware of some of the sensitivities of sharing real-time data of an animal's location but I'm wondering if there is any online resources which share data in real-time? I have signed up with Movebank but the only data I see is historical.

Does anyone know of a resource or willing to share real-time location data on an animal or several animals?

Related, but separate: if you are working with real-time geolocated data I'd love to chat and see if we could collaborate.

Many thanks, David


Hi David, 

It sounds like you're possibly thinking along the lines of what Internet of Elephants were exploring with some of their games, one of them had the concept of linking up running/excerise data with wildlife tracking data so you could actually race against a live migration. As you've noted, I think they also hit up against some issues when they were exploring using live tracking data, so it might be worth having a chat to them. cc - @mygshah @raffmares 

The other thing that comes to mind for live data are projects like BTO's cuckoo tracking project - they give out live updates as they're migrating between Africa and the UK. They're mid migration now so could be a good data source? 

Lots of projects will have live data like this but won't be releasing it publicly. Your best bet might be connecting directly with people holding the data (e.g. the team at BTO) and building a relationship from there.




I have come across a couple of open live animal tracking projects but don't keep a list. The one that I can think of right now is the OCEARCH shark tracker.

There is also this turtle tracking page but it seems dead. I feel like I have seen others as well but can't remember what they were called.

Live data will typically have much lower temporal resolution than logged data that's retrieved later (because sending data to satellites takes a lot of energy which is typically very limited).