Getting started: Overview

Getting started

Welcome to Firetail

Firetail provides you with a fully featured environment for the visualisation, reporting and annotation of modern, large-scale GPS, acceleration and tracking data.

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

This manual covers should cover all current Firetail features. If something is missing, please let us know.

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, show sample projects
B Open Files Panel select data subsets, bursts, focus regions
C Event Data Panel additional time-dependent sensors, i.e. event data
D Acceleration Data Panel inspect burst data, e.g. acceleration data
E Map Window visual representation of GPS tracks and tags/individuals
F Time Control control the current timestamp, time bracketing, and replay speed
G Burst Annotations select and annotate acceleration data
H Bookmarks time range bookmarks
I Activity Plot activity analysis

For quicker workflows we suggest to memorize Firetail’s Keyboard Shortcuts

If annotation data is present for a project Firetail can show this data along with your tracks. You can sort the columns by clicking on the header and color tracks accordingly. For a more detailed description see section Reference Data

Video Tutorials

Get started with our video tutorials!


Obtain the latest copy of Firetail from the Firetail Homepage. We strongly suggest using the most recent version of Firetail to benefit from features, fixes and performance improvements.

Firetail runs on Win/Mac and many Linux flavors, please refer to our Installation Guide


Without a license, Firetail will run as Firetail Free Edition, limited to 100K GPS/1Mio ACC Samples. If you hit this limit a license is required.

The full license version can handle long-term, high-density projects. License holders profit from our expert support. We want Firetail to meet your cutting-edge requirements, if you experience problems, do not hesitate to contact us Support.

For more details, see our licensing section.


We have long-time experience in

  • scientific setups
  • data science
  • machine learning
  • GIS
  • data processing
  • server software solutions
  • infrastructure

We offer a wide range of services covering these aspects. Get in touch!

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

Loading a project from Movebank


  • 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

Loading data without movebank

Firetail works best with Movebank. Creating an account does make a lot of sense.

Yet the Movebank - Repository and our sample projects will provide a good start as well.

Firetail can work with tag data from several manufacturers. If your tag data is not supported, contact us

Window Selection Tabs

Tab Usage
Sample Projects show the sample projects
Reference Data If available, show a table of project reference data (meta data)
Time Control show/hide Time Control
Event Data show/hide the Event Data Panel
Acceleration data show hide Acceleration Data Panel
Open Studies show data associated to the current study, Open Files Panel


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 can work with a wide range of raw/process tag vendor data. While our annotation features require a Movebank download, most other features work fluently with large-scale local data as well. For a detailed discussion, see Working with tag data.

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.

Caveat: closing an annotation project may lead to data loss. You are asked to save the project.