VACAPES Vessel Nearshore Humpback Whale Monitoring 2015
HDR Environmental, Operations and Construction, Inc.

Dataset credit

The U.S. Navy Marine Species Monitoring Program


Primary contact Amy Engelhaupt HDR Inc.
Primary contact Dan Engelhaupt HDR, Inc.
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



The data in this dataset represent sightings that occurred during nearshore humpback whale monitoring beginning in January 2015 through May 2015 off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA. Work was performed under HDR task order CTO 54 (IDIQ contract award N62470-10-D-3011, NAVFAC LANT).



Supplemental information

Sightings and effort data were entered and organized in this geodatabase by HDR. Source data was provided by HDR under the MSM IDIQ contract. Sighting locations represent actual animal locations. Sightings and effort data for this project were collected using a prototype collection application. Because this application used a different database structure, there are no environmentals associated with the effort tracks.

Survey tracklines (aggregated over time) are available online and included in a downloadable zip file (shapefile format).




Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downlodable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission unless otherwise noted below.

This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes in dataset provided

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
beaufortscaleBeaufort sea state (0-12)
countcalvesThe number of calves in the sighting
countjuvenilesNumber of juveniles
counttotbestThe best estimate of the number of animals in the sighting
counttotmaxThe highest estimate of the number of animals in the sighting
counttotminThe lowest estimate of the number of animals in the sighting
depthsoundingDepth as determined in situ via sounding in meters
distsightThe radial distance to the animal
effortstatusIndication of whether the survey team was actively searching with all designated observers focused on searching for marine mammal sighting cues. Options: On= dedicated observation effort with both observers on watch. If line, strip, or point transect - following formal distance sampling protocol regardless of survey mode (e.g. maintaining observation and platform protocols on a connector line). All other survey types - maintaining a consistent level of observation effort ; Off= not observing; If line, strip, or point transect - not following formal distance sampling protocol regardless of survey mode (e.g. platform speed or altitude is not consistent with protocol, incomplete observer effort, etc). All other survey types - no dedicated observation effort. Compormised= only one observer watching, observing through cloud/fog patches, dark, or other conditions that compromise ability to observe consistently
latanimalLatitude of animals in decimal degrees
latplatformThe latitude of the platform in decimal degrees
longanimalLongitude of animals in decimal degrees
longplatformThe Longitude of the platform in decimal degrees
observerThe name of the observer who first sighted the animal
percentcloudcoverCloud cover as represented by a percentage (percent)
platformmodeldefinition not provided
datetimeDate and time of the sighting at local time zone
datetimeutcDate and time of the sighting at UTC
sightingnotesNotes field to capture information not covered by existing attributes or other information of interest
sightingnumberThe sighting number for the particular survey day
spcsnmcomCommon name of the sighted species. Output should be singular (e.g. bottlenose dolphin)
spcsnmsciScientific name
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
swellSwell height in ft
visibilityThe estimated distance at which an animal could potentially be sighted in km
winddirectionWind direction
distsighttypeType of distance estimation (estimated, range-finder, reticle calculation, declination calculation)
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals72
Sea turtles1
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2015-01-02
Date, End2015-05-15
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude36.71 - 37.00
Longitude-76.09 - -75.50
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Contr. throughNavy
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Also availalbe from iOBIS
GBIF (planned)
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics