Station Management

Stations form the backbone of Motus. They are the network which makes data sharing possible. To maximise the utility of Motus, metadata associated with stations must be kept accurate and up to date.

This section pertains to the management of station metadata: i.e., the registration of stations and their deployments. To learn more about station equipment and how to deploy them, see our chapter on stations:


In this chapter you will find:



A Motus station is a single location where Motus receiver and antenna equipment is or has been deployed. A station ties together all the different deployments (i.e., 'configurations') that a location might have had. For instance, if a new antenna was added to a station that was already deployed or if that station had a new receiver installed, it will all be recorded under the same location and name. Not only does this help us better organise the database, it also makes metadata management much more efficient and intuitive for Motus collaborators.

Station deployment

A station deployment is a single configuration of a station which includes dates of deployment (start and end), receiver ID, antenna information (type, direction, height), and the antenna mounting structure (building, pop-up tower, etc.).


The physical computer that antennas plug into and collects tag detection data. Receivers are linked to stations with station deployments.

What's new in the December 2021 Update?

If you're already familiar with Motus this won’t be much of a change for you. Most importantly, your R scripts won’t need to change since we're keeping the ‘site’ variables for the time being.

Prior to December 2021, 'sites' were used as a general term with no restriction on geographic area or number of active Motus deployments. The December 2021 update converts this into a single 'station' which can only be in one location (unless mobile). Each station can only have a single active deployment at a time. In addition, 'receiver deployments' are now 'station deployments'. The coordinates and landowner information will also be associated with stations rather than deployments.

Previously, most Motus collaborators used sites for the same purpose we intend to use stations anyways and landowners are already associated with sites. For this reason, we do not anticipate any major disruptions as a result of this change.

Motus R Package Update

In the Motus R package, we will keep all the previous variables, but we will also introducing 2 new variables (stationID and stationName). This means you need to update your R package to version 4.0 to download new data. The variables siteName and siteID may be deprecated in a future release of the Motus R Package.

Why stations?

The Motus database was first organised from the perspective of data processing. That is, to store detections based on the serial number of the computer (i.e., "receiver") that collected those data. However, it was also important to keep track of different station configurations, hence "receiver deployments" were born. However, whenever a receiver was switched between two locations it always presented a bit of a problem to link the deployments of a single location together. Previously, researchers would have to use the station's name to link together data from multiple receivers which could be frustrating, especially when names were not consistent between deployments or when two locations had similar names. As Motus has grown, receiver management has become more and more cumbersome making it clear we would need to introduce a new system of organisation at the station level.

The concept of ‘sites’ was introduced back in 2018 as a way for collaborators to group together the deployments for any number of locations. However, we found most collaborators were using the feature to identify a single location. At the same time, new data explorations tool require a clearer way to link together Motus receiver deployments at a single location. By introducing stations, we're now able to string together deployments across multiple receivers based on where they were deployed in a consistent manner.

Managing Stations

Every location where a Motus receiver is deployed needs to be recorded as a 'station' in the database.

This section covers the following topics:

The video below covers all topics in this section:

View project stations

To view a map or table of stations associated with your project(s), go to Manage Data > Manage Stations.

You can toggle your view between a map and table by clicking on the tabs above the map/table.

Filter stations

By default, only active stations will be displayed. To view inactive stations or all stations together, click on the appropriate link above the table or map.

You can also filter stations by name or ID using the text input above the map.

View station deployments

Using the map, you can click on any station to see it's deployments. When viewing a table, click on a row to see it's deployments.

After clicking on a station, its details will appear in the panel on the right. This includes details about the station (status, location, and landowner) as well as the current and past deployments.

Add a new station

Click on the button labelled 'Add a new station'. This will open a dialog box with the following required fields:

  1. Name: the name of the station. It's most helpful if this based on a local name.

  2. Prospective start date: if the station is or was already deployed, enter a current or past date. If the station hasn't yet been deployed, enter the date you estimate to have it installed. If you do not have active plans to deploy a station here, leave this field blank.

  3. Location: drag the pin around on the map to specify the location of this station, or use the latitude/longitude field below the map. Mobile stations should have their location as the start/end point of their 'typical' track.

  4. Comments: this is helpful for entering access notes or if the stations is not yet installed you may describe the plans to install and the location here.

  5. Landowners: you may select one or more landowner in this list. If the landowner is not present in the list, click the button labelled 'Manage your project landowners' to add a new one.

Keep in mind that people outside of your project can see your station names.

Modify a station

To modify a station, first select a station from the map or table and then click on 'Modify properties' from the panel on the right. See Add a new station for information about the options present here.

Terminate a deployment

With a station selected, click on the button labelled 'Terminate this deployment' in the right panel just above the deployment history.

You will be asked to provide the date and time that the deployment was terminated.

Only one deployment can be active at a station at any given time. This means any active deployment must be terminated before creating a new one.

Add a deployment

Step 1: Click on 'Create a new deployment'

With a station selected, click on the button labelled 'Create a new deployment' in the right panel just above the deployment history.

Step 2: Enter start date

You will be presented with a dialog box asking for the deployment start date and time as well as a couple check boxes which allow you to choose whether to copy metadata from the previous deployment.

Step 3: Select a receiver

If you choose to select a new receiver (by unchecking the box labelled 'Use most recent receiver' in previous step), you will be presented with a table of all receivers registered to the project.

To select a receiver, click on the button 'Deploy this receiver' in the row corresponding to the receiver serial number. This button will not be visible on rows with receivers that are actively deployed.

You can click on a row to view further details about the receiver, such as its deployment history.

Click on 'Add a receiver' above the table to add a new receiver if it's not present.

Step 4: Enter deployment configuration

Regardless of whether you have a new antenna configuration, it is helpful to enter notes at this step using the provided text area.

If you are entering a new antenna configuration, you will also need to select the mounting structure (i.e. "type").

To enter antenna information, use the form at the bottom of the page and enter antennas one row at a time. The following columns are required:

  • Dongle type: this is the radio device plugged into USB ports on certain receivers. There is one for each antenna. If you are using built-in 434 MHz radios on the CTT SensorStation, please select "Integrated (CTT SensorStation). If you are using a Lotek SRX- series receiver, please select "Integrated (Lotek SRX)".

  • Port: this is either the USB or radio port that the antenna is plugged in to. This is very important to keep accurate since it will be used to correlate antenna directions to tag hits. Keep in mind that for CTT SensorStations, the built-in 434 MHz radios are labelled with the "L" prefix.

  • Frequency: the antenna frequency. This is usually selected for you.

  • Type: the antenna type. This is helpful for keeping track of antenna ranges as well as differences between equipment manufactures.

  • Magnetic OR true bearing: the direction the antenna is facing. We tend to recommend magnetic bearing since not all compasses show declination. A phone compass typically displays the magentic declination unless otherwise specified. This field can be blank for antennas pointing vertically (e.g.; omni antennas).

  • Angle: this is only required for non-horizontal antennas (e.g.; omni antennas). This option can be found under the 'advanced antenna properties' tab.

After entering your antenna information, you can verify the directions are correct by clicking on the button labelled 'View antenna map,' located just below the antenna table.

Step 5: Click 'Save and exit'

Once you are finished entering data, verify all the information is accurate and then click 'Save' or 'Save and exit'. You're done!

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