Map: Layers

Visible Layers

Firetail provides a range of maps and data overlays. Use the menu Layer to access them.

By default, an Open Street Map view is activated. It provides a great overview of your data, in particular for relatively urban areas.

GPS layer

This layer contains the GPS tracks for the currently selected tag data.

Open Street Map (OSM)

By default, Firetail operates using Open Street Map cartographic material hosted on a dedicated server.

Bing overlay


Alternatively, it is possible to retrieve satellite images from Bing to inspect terrain features visually. The data is static and high-resolution.

Bing overlay

The default Bing key shipping with Firetail can be replaced using Files > Settings > Map. This may be required for large-scale region downloads. Replace Bing Key

NASA - Blue Marble

This data features static, high res (500m/pixel) overlay data from the NASA earth observatory.

Blue Marble 2014

Bing overlay

NASA - Blue Marble, Full Set

This data features dynamic (monthly progress 2014), high res (500m/pixel) overlay data from the NASA earth observatory. The visualisation thus enables the observation of coarse seasonal changes.

Blue Marble 2014

Bing overlay

MODIS Vegetation Index, MOD13A

Regional climate data. Spatial and temporal resolution data featuring the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). For this map overlay, an additional scale is introduced that will overlay the existing map. The visualisation is dynamic and allows for the analysis of periodical changes like winter/summer or dry/humid. The resolution is 1km spatial whith changes provided every month.

MODIS Terra Vegetation Indices

MODIS Vegetation data

MODIS Chlorophyll Seawater

Overlay of sea water chlorophyll concentration. This NASA dataset features dynamic spatial data covering monthly changes. For this map overlay, an additional scale is introduced that will overlay the existing map with \( \text{mg}/\text{cm}^3 \) .

MODIS Chlorophyll data

MODIS Chlorophyll Data

Vector Layers

Firetail can load shape (.shp) and KML (.kml) and geo-json (.geojson) files as layer overlays. You can use this feature to show administrative districts, park boundaries or trajectories.

Vector overlays (example shapefile from

Note that it is not possible to load KML files as tracks for now.

Geojson event with timestamps

It is possible to load geojson events with associated timestamps (experimental).

As an example, use earthquake information provided by USGS:

The currently reported events are visible for studies that have the same time range:

Feature Overlay - Points of Interest

Firetail can load external points of interest of the following format via Data > Add Shape Files

Firetail supports a csv format with the following columns:

field description
Feature category description
Name individual name
Longitude decimal longitude
Latitude decimal latitude

Example: places.csv

human structure,buoy field,8.95075,47.7343
human structure,buoy field,8.95817,47.7362

Loading this file in Firetail will produce the following result

The example above features colored categories. To enable coloring by one of the fields, right-click on the Field Feature in the grouping in the Open Files Viewport and choose Color points by field values.

GeoTiff Layers

Firetail can load GEOTiff files to overlay existing maps. An ‘epsg:3857’ projection is required.

Night/Day – Sunrise

For behavioral studies, information about sunrise and sunset may be crucial. Firetail features a sunrise mode to embed this information in the current viewport.

sunrise animation

Contrast Layer

Darken the background map to improve visibility of trajectories.

Point Map

An overlay of all points in a cloudscene. See Cloud Scenes.


A cloud scene heatmap for massive point data. See Cloud Scenes.