GeoZui4D: A New Method for Viewing Multisensor Tag-derived Data to Investigate the Underwater Behavior of Marine Mammals


Direct, underwater observation of marine mammals for extended time periods is technically infeasible. As a result scientists have resorted to deploying a variety of devices on animals to measure and depict motor behavior. For example, the DTAG logs body pitch, roll, heading and depth, while simultaneously recording sounds emitted and received by the tagged animal. However, the dynamic nature of these data (and the animal) is usually depicted by static images or animations of simple data fields (e.g., time and location). In addition, key aspects of the environment, such as human activity that might influence whale behavior, are often difficult to incorporate into visualizations and analysis. GeoZui4D is a geo-referenced data visualization system that allows the integration of multiple data sources (e.g., pitch, roll, heading, and depth) to create a dynamic visualization of whale motor behavior that can be synchronized to sound or other files. The results allow virtual visualization of the underwater activities of the tagged animal, concurrent with sounds the animal makes and hears, shipping tracks or other measured aspects of the environment. For example, using GeoZui4D to combine DTAG data from a humpback whale with vessel tracks from boats in the vicinity allowed us to view the behavior of the virtual whale swimming along the seafloor and hear the vessel sounds received at the whale, while observing boat movements (including a continuous calculation of the distance between boat and whale). In addition, time in GeoZui4D can be sped up or slowed down, depending on the need of the investigator. Similarly, the system has a zooming user interface allowing for fine or large scale viewing from multiple perspectives. We will provide examples of GeoZui4D visualizations using DTAG data collected from humpback whales and describe the power of such visualizations in a policy setting.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal Title

Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals (CBMM)

Conference Date

Dec 12 - Dec 16, 2005

Publisher Place

San Diego, CA, USA


Society for Marine Mammalogy

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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