GOALS Vessel Surveys June - July 2013

HDR Environmental, Operations and Construction, Inc.

Dataset credit

The U.S. Navy Marine Species Monitoring Program


Primary contact Kristen Ampela HDR Environmental, Operations and Construction, Inc.
Secondary contact Grant Miller-Francisco HDR Environmental, Operations and Construction, Inc.
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



Features in this feature class represent animal sightings that occurred during a line-transect vessel survey ("GOALSII") for marine mammals. Real-time acoustic monitoring and recording effort was also conducted using a towed-hydrophone array and sonobuoys around-the-clock to detect and localize vocally active cetaceans. The survey was conducted from 23 June to 18 July 2013 in the U.S. Navy's Temporary Maritime Activities Area in the central GoA, east of Kodiak Island. Work was performed under HDR task order TO 22 (IDIQ contract award N62470-10-D-3011, NAVFAC LANT).

There are some discrepancies between the sighting totals in the GOALS II project report and this GIS dataset. For example, the report lists 91 humpback whale sightings (295 count) on-effort, and 15 sightings (36 count) off-effort, while this dataset contains 92 sightings (296 count) on-effort, and 19 sightings (250 count) off-effort. The reason for this discrepancy is that a large non-cohesive group of humpbacks was encountered and individual perpendicular distances could not be estimated for each of the subgroups. The first approach was to stay on effort and complete a “total count” estimate for whales in a specific quadrant until the ship had gone through the majority of the animals. Once completed, it was agreed that perpendicular estimation was needed for every subgroup of whales and the ship altered course and reran the trackline in the opposite direction for observers to get position fixes on as many of the animals/subgroups as possible. On the second pass, the density of whales was not as high and thus the numbers may have differed when compared to the first pass that was ultimately adjusted to be an “off-effort” sighting. Minor discrepancies also exist in sighting counts for other species, in most cases this is the result of how resightings were recorded (instances where the same animal group was observed more than once).



Supplemental information





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 described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
All attributes are included in the downloadable file (CSV or ESRI File Geodatabase) for "Complete Set of Dataset".

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
objectidUnique ID
altitudemThe altitude of the observation platform (plane, vessel bridge, etc) above sea level in meters
animalspeedA calculation based on multiple resights, calculating the distance travelled by the time elapsed between sighting events
areakm2The area in km2 over which the survey took place
aspectslopeBathymetric slope aspect at location of animal
bearingRelative bearing from the platform to the sighting, where the front of the platform is zero degrees. Formats include clock face, degrees, etc.
bearingabsTrue (not magnetic) bearing to sighting. Calculated from relative bearing and platform bearing.
beaufortscaleBeaufort sea state (0-12)
beaufortscaleleftBeaufort sea state on the left (port) side of the platform (0-12)
beaufortscalerightBeaufort sea state on the right (starboard) side of the platform (0-12)
behaviorInitial behavioral state of the animal or group when first observed. Examples: Travel, Mill, Rest
behavioreventDiscrete behavioral event(s) observed during the sighting. Examples: Breach, Tail Slap, Blow
biopsyWas a biopsy attempted for the sighting?
birdsAre birds present?
calvespresentAre calves present? Use notes field to indicate number of calves present.
countcalvesThe number of calves in the sighting
countfemalesThe number of positively identified females in the sighting
countjuvenilesThe number of positively identified juveniles in the sightings
countmalesThe number of positively identified males in the sighting
countnewbornsThe number of positively identified newborns/pups in the sighting
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
countvescargoThe number of cargo ships present in the area
countvesferriesThe number of ferries present in the area
countvesfishingThe number of fishing boats present in the area
countvesmilitaryThe number of military vessels present in the area
countvesmotoryachtsThe number of motor yachts present in the area
countvesotherThe number of vessels in the area that do not fall into the above categories
countvessailingThe number of sailboats present in the area
cueThe sighting cue that initially drew the observers attention
datetimeDate and Time together in one cell value (LOCAL TIME)
datetimeutcDate and Time together in one cell value (UTC)
depthThe depth of the water at sighting location, based on known bathymetry
depthsoundingDepth as determined in situ via sounding
dispmaxThe maximum distance between nearest neighbors within a group (in body lengths)
dispminThe minimum distance between nearest neighbors within a group (in body lengths)
distsightThe radial distance to the animal
distsightperpThe perpendicular distance to the animal from the trackline
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
flightofdayThe sequential daily flight identifier (e.g., 1, 2, 3, etc.)
glareleftThe amount of glare (0-100%) on the left (port) side of the platform. Refers to glare from 0 to 90 degrees, or viewshed for which observer is reponsible.
glarerightThe amount of glare (0-100%) on the right (starboard) side of the platform. Refers to glare from 270-360 degrees, or viewshed for which observer is reponsible.
groupidIdentifier for a particular group within a sighting
headinganimalHeading of the animal (sighting) at the time of the initial sighting (in degrees magnetic)
headingplatmagneticHeading of the observation platform relative to magnetic North
headingplattrueHeading of the observation platform relative to true North
horizsunHorizontal glare calculation on NOAA large vessel surveys
latanimalThe calculated latitude of the animal at the initial time of the sighting
latplatformThe latitude of the platform in decimal degrees
latvesselThe latitude of the vessel(s) (NOT the survey platform) sighted during a survey
legidLetter or number for survey leg/transect
legnotesNotes as entered for that particular leg of the survey
legnumberA unique identifier for the leg associated with the survey
linearityA metric describing animal travel, calculated by dividing the distance between the first and last recorded sighting waypoints by the sum total of all distances between waypoints. Values range between 0 and 1, with a number closer to 1 representing a straight line and close to 0 representing no constant direction of the animal.?
longanimalThe calculated longitude of the animal (sighting) at the initial time of the sighting
longplatformThe longitude of the platform in decimal degrees
longvesselThe longitude of the vessel(s) (NOT the survey platform) sighted during a survey
mitigationWas mitigation implemented?
mitigationtypeType of mitigation implemented
navydirectedlegMarker identifying whether the platform was directed by the Navy to go to a certain location, fly at a certain altitude, or leave the immediate area
observerThe name of the observer who first sighted the animal
observeraftName of the observer in the aft position
observercenterName of the observer in the center position or belly window of the aircraft
observerforwardName of the observer in the forward position
observerleftName of the observer on the left (port) side of the platform
observerrearleftName of the observer in the rear left seat of the aircraft
observerrearrightName of the observer in the rear right seat of the aircraft
observerrightName of the observer on the right (starboard) side of the platform
oceanThe ocean where the survey took place (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, etc.)
opticstypeIndicates the type of optic used to fix a particular sighting (e.g., bigeyes, handheld binos, theodolite, naked eye). Useful when a platform uses several methods to sight animals
ordnanceWas live ordnance in use at the time of the sighting?
percentcloudcoverCloud cover as represented by a percentage
percentcloudcoverleftCloud cover on the left (port) side of the platform as represented by a percentage
percentcloudcoverrightCloud cover on the right (starboard) side of the platform as represented by a percentage
photoframesThe photo frames used for the sighting; or total frames taken
photographerName of the photographer
photosWere photos taken as part of the sighting?
picPilot in command
platformdedIndicates if the survey was a dedicated marine mammal survey, or if data was gathered opportunistically from a platform on a different mission
platformmodelModel of a/c or vessel (e.g. Partenavia Observer, RHIB, etc.)
platformspeedSpeed of the platform at the time of the sighting
platformtypeType of survey platform (e.g., "aerial", "vessel")
rangecomplexThe Range complex (or complexes) associated with the survey (JAX, SOCAL, Cherry Point, etc.)
reactioninitThe type of reaction at the initial time of the sighting relative to the observation platform
reactioninitcountThe general count of animals that initially reacted to the observation platform. May be a number or text (i.e., "whole group")
reactionlaterIdentifies whether a reaction occurred as a response to the survey platform after the initial sighting of the group/individual
reactionlatercountThe number of animals that reacted to the observation platform after the sighting occurred
recorderName of the person recording data
recorderfocalName of the person recording focal follow data
reorientationrateA magnitude of course changes along the trackline, calculated by summing all course changes (degrees) along the trackline divided by duration (minutes) of the trackline (Smultea and Wursig, 1995).
resolutionBathymetric resolution in arc degrees at sighting position
shoredistDistance to nearest shore
sicSecond (pilot) in command
sightingdetectionsensorSighting detection method (e.g. MMO, lookout, bridge, acoustic)
sightingendloeWas Sighting 1. lost, or 2. Passed Beam (Lookout Effectiveness surveys only)
sightingmultiDenotes if there are any additional species within a particular sighting (mixed group)
sightingnotesNotes field to capture information not covered by existing attributes or other information of interest
sightingnumberThe sighting number for the particular survey day
sightingrelmovementRelative movement of vessel and animal
sightingtimeendThe time at which the sighting was discontinued
sightingtrialloeWhether sighting was successful Lookout Effectiveness Trial
slopeBathymetric slope at sighting location (angle)
sonarWas sonar active at the time of the sighting?
spcscodeSpecies code used in authentic data (e.g., TTUR=Tursiops truncatus)
spcsconfidenceConfidence level of the observer that he or she identified species correctly
spcshauledoutIndicates if a pinniped is hauled out
spcsitisITIS numeric species code
spcsnmcomCommon name of the sighted species. Output should be singular (e.g. bottlenose dolphin)
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
spcsnmsciScientific name of the sighted species
surveyidA survey identifier consisting of data collector, range complex, platform, year, month, and day. (Data Collector/Source)_(Range Complex)_(Platform Type or Details)_(Year)(Month)(Day) (eg. SES_SOCAL_Aerial_20120417)
surveypointA waypoint taken along a trackline OR a start/end point for a trackline
swellSwell height
swelldirectionDirection of swell
taggingWas a tag deployment attempted for the sighting?
theoconvhorzHorizontal angle value from theodolite converted to a compass bearing
theoconvvertVertical angle value from theodolite converted to a declination angle
theorawhorzRaw horizontal angular value from theodolite
theorawvertRaw vertical angular value from theodolite
trkdistDistance between two trackline points, in meters
vertangleorreticleReticle or declination angle
vertsunVertical glare calculation on NOAA large vessel surveys
vesselsize0-99 ft = small, 100-300 ft = medium, >301 ft = large
vesseltypeType of vessel observed (e.g. frigate, sailboat, submarine)
videoWas video taken during the sighting?
videographerName of the videographer
visibilityThe estimated distance at which an animal could potentially be sighted
visibilityleftSighting visibility in KM on the left (port) side of the platform
visibilityrightSighting visibility in KM on the right (starboard) side of the platform
waveheightWave height
winddirectionWind direction relative to true north
windspeedWind speed
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals975
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2013-06-23
Date, End2013-07-18
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude55.67 - 59.53
Longitude-152.61 - -135.55
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
EffortYES (ID: 1461)
Traveled (km)8,767
Effort hours614
Contr. throughNavy
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics