Frequently Asked Questions

How to cite Firetail?

M. Berger, T. Petri, M. Gentile, and F. Schäuffelhut, 
“Firetail – a fast and versatile software for the visualization and analysis of tagged animal data,” 
Schäuffelhut Berger GmbH, Version 10, Dec 2022. [Software]. Available from: https://www.firetail.de

If you require information not covered in this manual, feel free to contact us.

How can I open e-obs logger.bin files with Firetail?

For now, the logger.bin bin must be extracted via the e-obs tools available here: e-obs Service & Downloads.

The decoder is a command-line tool from e-obs.

  1. download and extract the decoder-v14-win64.zip (or later)
  2. place the executable in the same directory as your logger.bin file
  3. double click the decoder-v14-win64.exe
  4. Press ’m' for movebank and ‘Enter’

The resulting files can then be opened with Firetail.

PowerShell users can use:

.\decoder_v14_win64.exe -f G:\firetail\test-data\logger\logger.bin -c m -d G:\firetail\test-data\logger\test\
                         ^               ^                          ^ ^  ^         ^
                         |               |                          | |  |         |
                         file switch     |                          | |  |         your result directory (must exists)
                                         path to file               | |  directory switch
                                                                    | export as movebank
                                                                    action switch                        

The annotation toolsets from your video tutorials do not show? Why?

For a consistent annotation it is crucial to work on controlled datasets with few format variation. Also, the annotation of multiple animals is not yet supported. Therefore, Firetail will activate the annotation toolset only for Movebank projects that have been loaded via one of the following menu entries:

  1. File > Download Movebank by Tag ID
  2. File > Download Movebank by Individual
  3. File > Download Movebank by Deployment

My dataset does not feature acceleration data, can I annotate GPS fixes instead?

Yes. From Firetail 9 it is possible to create pseudo bursts for a Movebank project.

  1. Right click on an individual/tag/deployment in the Open Files viewport
  2. Select Create empty ACC burst space
  3. Select regions via the map or within the burst window, create new categories/layers as usual

empty burst space

A short burst is created for each GPS measurement as a center of the (empty) burst. Saving, exporting and importing will work as usual.

FireSOM relies on actual acceleration patterns and cannot produce meaningful results.

Large Movebank downloads seem to fail consistently.

The Movebank API has some serious restrictions in terms of download size (2 GB) and a fixed 20 minute timeout that we cannot bypass. You can work around this by downloading your data in parts (e.g. deployments limited to a given time window). Further, the direct download from Movebank can circumvent the problem. Firetail can open these CSVs directly (yet not annotate them).

I am a student doing my bachelor’s/master’s thesis. I can’t afford Firetail.

Reach out: you can likely join the Firetail Scholarship Program and receive a free student’s license.

Why are you guys so expensive?

We think that Firetail is not actually expensive. At the price of a single modern tag…

  • our experts provide fast, personal and high-quality support that copes with your high level of research. We are used to moving ground and your ideas will shape the way the next Firetail release will look like.
  • you are provided with a highly specific software, designed with current telemetry studies in mind that supports large-scale, bleeding edge data. Our team is passionate about science and our goal is to make your data more accessible and valuable.
  • you can work with reliable software that is thoroughly tested, designed and maintained by experienced software engineers and scientists

Missing something?


  • are missing a feature?
  • ran into problems while using Firetail?
  • uncovered a bug in Firetail?
  • require a specific license (practical courses, enterprise)
  • found errors or missing sections in this manual?
  • have some other request?

Your feedback is highly appreciated! Do not hesitate to contact us: