Getting started

Getting started

About Firetail

Welcome to Firetail!

Firetail provides you with a blazingly fast environment for the visualisation and annotation of modern, large-scale GPS, burst and tracking data.

Firetail should work completely interactive and connects to Movebank directly. Event data, Acc bursts and Reference data can be explored.

This manual covers all crucial steps to make Firetail productive for you!

Video Tutorials

Get started with our video tutorials!


Obtain and install the latest copy of Firetail from:


Good news: for “small” projects up to 100K GPS/1Mio ACC Samples, the ‘Firetail Free Edition’ got you covered.

If you hit this limit a license is required. License holders profit from our expert support. We have long-time experience in scientific setups, data science, GIS and general data processing.

For more details, see our licensing section.

Quick start

Sample projects

For a quick start use one of our sample projects.

Where can I get data? Where can I archive my data?

The Movebank database is your first stop to download, archive and process datasets:

Loading a project

I do have a Movebank account


  • File > Download Data by Tag ID
  • File > Download Data by Individual ID
  • File > Download Data by Deployment ID

to download movebank data using your account. The account is required to access the API. See also Section Movebank Data

I do not have a Movebank account

Firetail works best with movebank. So creating an account does make a lot of sense. Yet the Movebank - Repository and our sample projects will provide a good start as well.

Overview of Firetail

In the screenshot above we highlighted the most essential elements of firetail:

Section Name Description
A Window Selection Tabs hide/show panels
B Open Files Panel activate data subsets, bursts, focus regions
C Event Data Panel event data for a given timestamp
D Acceleration Data Panel acceleration data
E Map Window Visual representation of GPS tracks and tags/individuals
F Time Control control the active timestamp, time bracketing, speed
G Burst Annotations select and annotate GPS data

For quicker workflows memorize Firetail’s Keyboard Shortcuts

If annotation data is present for a project Firetail can show this data as a table (starting from v3). For a more detailed description see section Reference Data


Firetail provides panels/windows for all essential features. You may switch acceleration and event panels to window-mode and place them to get the layout that best suits your requirements (menu: Window > Acceleration Data and Window > Event Data)

Visible Layers

Firetail provides you with several layers of information like landmass, water, satellite images and sunrise information.

Working with local data

Firetail is designed with Movebank in mind in terms of download and annotation of published datasets. Nonetheless local data can be imported.

See section Working with local data for more details.

Previously downloaded movebank sets can be accessed directly from the File > Open Downloaded Data menu.

Closing a project

Use File > Close to close the currently opened project. This option will be triggered automatically on certain events.