Acoustic telemetry data gathered by different projects allows individual animals to be detected and tracked around Australia. In order for this system to work effectively related information must be entered into the database by researchers at the onset of the project and be updated once receivers are downloaded. All data from the Animal Tracking Facility’s arrays are typically serviced and uploaded on an annual basis; all collaborating projects have their own servicing schedules.

Currently, there are two streams of data collected. Firstly, the metadata which consist of information recorded during deployment and recovery of receivers and information regarding tag releases. This data is manually recorded by a technical officer or individual researcher and includes the following information:


  1. Receiver location, time of receiver deployment, depth, mooring design; and
  2. Tag release: Animal tag ID, species, sex, length, capture/release location and methods.

The second type of data is recorded electronically from the acoustic receivers themselves. This data, referred to as the product data, includes:

  1. The header information which is a record of the receiver itself including information such as battery life and the total amounts of tag detections on each individual acoustic receiver;and
  2. The individual tag detection; this data consists of real time detection records of individual species tagged by researchers.

In order to make sense of these detections, researchers record the individual species information and refer back to this information post tagging. This information can be found under tag releases as mentioned above.

For use of the contents of the IMOS Acoustic Animal Tracking Database, the IMOS Animal Tracking Facility (IMOS ATF) recommends adhering to the Recommended guidelines for using data sourced from the IMOS ATF Acoustic Animal Tracking Database.

Any users of IMOS data are required to clearly acknowledge the source of the material in the format:

Data was sourced from the Acoustic Animal Tracking Database ( of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS, - IMOS is a national collaborative research infrastructure supported by the Australian Government. The database is a centralised acoustic telemetry data repository maintained by the IMOS Animal Tracking Facility (IMOS ATF) and the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN,

If relevant, also credit other organisations involved in collection of the particular data stream (as listed in 'credit' in the metadata record). The citation in a list of references is:

IMOS [year-of-data-download], [full metadata title], [data-access-URL], accessed [date-of-access]

More information can be found in the IMOS Data Use Acknowledgement Policy.

Data is collected following the IMOS principles:

Open Access: Data arising from research infrastructure provided through IMOS to the national and international marine research communities will be offered as open access;

Service: IMOS will provide a service that broadly supports researchers in the national marine community to maximise the contributions of R&D to economic development, national security, social well-being and environmental sustainability;

Data streams: Success will be measured in terms of the quality and quantity of data that IMOS delivers, the number of users and the quality of research results produced with IMOS data;

Integration: IMOS will deploy a coordinated, multi-platform observing system to take advantage of the synergies between instruments, and to provide a comprehensive description of the ocean, as a contribution to national and international programs;

Sustainability: The real value of IMOS will only emerge if systematic, repeated data collection continues for long enough time to see the range of climate variation and change; sustained streams of data are integrally related to conservation and sustainable development of the marine environment.

Collaborating projects are subject to the security policy of the Animal Tracking Database (Security Policy Document). Two ways of data protection were implemented as part of the Animal Tracking Database:

  1. Tag IDs can be quarantined (or embargoed) for a period of up to three years for students and one year for general researchers. Embargo periods can be extended upon request to the IMOS Animal Tracking Data Committee in one year increments. For more information see Embargo Extensions.
  2. In exceptional circumstances, researchers can apply for Protected Data Status.

To watch online videos on how to use the Animal Tracking Database go to

The Animal Tracking Facility holds regular workshops that bring together a wide range of acoustic telemetry users from academia, government and industry, from both Australia and abroad. Workshops incorporate first-hand news and improvements in acoustic telemetry equipment, tuition regarding maintenance of acoustic telemetry equipment, information on data visualisation products, and a chance to discuss those. For more information see the Application Forms page.

The IMOS Animal Tracking Database Quality Control and False Detection Analysing Algorithm Report Oct 2015 details how IMOS Animal Tracking constantly reviews its data by regular quality controls and introduces the newly developed False Detection Analysing Algorithm. The latter will be implemented as a flagging procedure in the IMOS Animal Tracking Database in the near future.