Join OTN

Joining the Ocean Tracking Network connects your project to a global community of telemeters, allowing your data to join the OTN database, where it can be cross-referenced, quality controlled, and made available to you in many highly useful formats for analysis and visualization.

OTN researchers collaborate by virtue of proximity and the overlap of their target species in their study areas, but also through the development of methods and tools for data synthesis, analysis and visualization.
Animal morphology and tagging activity data stored in the OTN database is protected by a tag-based embargo per the OTN Data Policy, but the pathway exists for researchers to eventually publish and share all of their data with global biogeographic databases as well as through OTN’s open data platforms.

An International Data Management Committee comprised of data scientists from North America, Australia, Europe, Africa and South America provides oversight to ensure the OTN data management model is implemented and operated reliably and efficiently.

Collaborate with OTN:

Add your project to OTN Has OTN detected my tags?

More information regarding providing data to the OTN Global Data Warehouse, including OTN policies, templates, and checklists for data submission.


In order to fulfill the goals of advertising your project to potential collaborators, as well as preserving and cross-referencing your data set, it’s OTN policy to ask for information about your project and about your tagged animals.

(A) Background information.

Click here to email OTN your project’s metadata and get started collaborating with OTN or, mail to otndc@dal.ca with the subject New Project Metadata.

This information will be used to generate your public Discovery Page on the data portal website. See https://members.oceantrack.org/OTN/project?ccode=HFX as an example.

You will also be provided with a private, closed-access Repository Folder where metadata sheets can be uploaded and where OTN will add Detection Extract files (created by cross-referencing tags to detections across all OTN-reported projects).

(B) Authorization allowing vendors to give us the technical specs on your tags.

To expedite the addition of your tags to the OTN database, please complete the VEMCO authorization, so we can begin to attribute detections of your tags even without animal morphology. This allows us to provide you with detailed detection data even if you have not yet submitted information on where your tags were deployed.

If you require an authorization form for a different vendor please email otndc@dal.ca to obtain the form.


Once we have (A) and (B), we can prefill our tagging metadata template with the specs of the tags and send it to you to fill in details about the animals. You will then be asked to report your instrument deployment information and detection files (if applicable).

OTN is committed to making acoustic tracking data more accessible while respecting the intellectual property rights of its collaborators. We make the background information you provide publicly accessible on the OTN Data Portal. Associated metadata and detection data remain your intellectual property. You control who has access to your data. For more information, please read the complete OTN data policy.

Go to OTN data portal

Continued Reporting:

In order to keep your project records up to date with OTN (therefore ensuring a complete and accurate data set is archived in the OTN data system) please report regularly to otndc@dal.ca or by uploading new files into your Repository Folder on the OTN data portal website.

In general, a complete project requires consistent updates for:

  1.  Tagging Metadata
  2.  Instrument Deployment Metadata
  3.  raw, unedited instrument Detection Files

See here for the required reporting templates: https://members.oceantrack.org/data/data-collection

Tag cross-referencing

OTN will provide updated Detection Extract files on a regular basis. There are several detection extract formats which include information about projects who were detected on your array as well as locations where your animals have been detected.

A new functionality of the OTN database is cross-compatibility with other regional OTN-style nodes. Currently, the fully compatible telemetry networks include the FACT network, ATAP, OTN-Brazil and MigraMar. OTN will directly cross-reference your tags within and between these nodes and include all detections in your Detection Extracts.

OTN is constantly working with other regional networks to increase compatibility on a global scale. See https://members.oceantrack.org for an updated map of known projects.