IOOS Animal Acoustic Telemetry (AAT) Data Project: Improving Access to AAT Observations

As part of the IOOS Animal Telemetry Network efforts, in 2012-2013 IOOS supported a community needs assessment and data-access standards and technology development project for animal acoustic telemetry (AAT) data. The AAT project was co-led by IOOS, NANOOS (the IOOS Regional Association for the Pacific Northwest), the Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking Project (POST, which is no longer in operation), and the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN).


Introduction and Objectives

The primary outcomes were the development of data exchange standards and best-practice data delivery systems that are now being implemented at a wider scale by OTN to provide access to their OTN Northeast Pacific data node, which includes POST data.

This project has built on existing IOOS DMAC guidance and activities regarding biological and broader oceanographic data access.

Principal Project Stakeholders and Other Partners

Although the AAT project focused on the Pacific NW for needs assessments and data testing, it brought together not only regional partners such as the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Center and the Hydra system, but also national, Canadian and Australian collaborators.

Project Documentation and Reports

Project Data Services

NOTE: Other documents and configuration files that becomes available may be referenced here.

AAT Metadata Convention

Origin of the Convention

The AAT Metadata Convention is based on data input forms from Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking (POST), Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS), HYDRA, and The Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS, the Australian Animal Tagging and Monitoring System (AATAMS), with additional feedback from other individual researchers and database operators such as Tagging Of Pacific Predators (TOPP) and Kintama Research.

Purpose of the Convention

The purpose of the AAT Metadata Convention (pdf) is to ensure that: * Enough information is transmitted to make data understandable (hence “required” fields) * The origin of the data is clear, and credit (attribution) is maintained * The receiving system can interpret the transmitted data without human intervention, including if necessary how flat files can be reassembled into a structure such as linked database tables.

The vocabulary defined by the AAT Metadata Convention is hosted on the IOOS MMI ontological repository. Individual terms may be referenced from it via MMI URL’s, such as

Other Resources

IOOS Biology Data projects

POST and relevant OTN Data repository

The NOAA Geo-IDE site has a nice summary of the differences between the three inter-related ISO metadata standards 19139, 19115 and 19115-2. But it doesn’t address the “Marine Community Profile (MCP) of ISO 19115”. Here’s a summary of the 3 ISO standards and one community profile:

Data Services used by animal acoustic telemetry groups

  • OTN: Geoserver, OGC WMS, KML

Other relevant systems


  • Xtractomatic scripts for R and Matlab, written by Dave Foley: the scripts make it easy to subset and extract from a remote server a satellite and other physical oceanography data (e.g., sea surface temperature, chlorophyll a) related to each point of an animal’s track.
  • Examples of IPython notebook, put together by Rich Signell. Many of them focus on accessing netCDF/OPeNDAP datasets.