VACAPES Vessel Nearshore Humpback Whale Monitoring 2015-2019

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 2019 off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA. Non-systematic vessel trackline data for each season
is included in layers separated for 5 seasons of effort (2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019). Work was
performed under HDR task orders CTO 54, TO 33, 17F4013, and 19F4005 (IDIQ contract awards N62470-10-D-3011 and N62470-
15-8006, NAVFAC LANT).



Supplemental information

[2020-06-05] Data in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 were added.
[2020-01-28] Data of season 2 (TO13; Dec2015-May2016) and
season 3 (TO33; Nov2016-Mar2017) were added.

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




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)
bearingabsBearing (absolute)
behavioreventBehavior event
beaufortscaleBeaufort sea state (0-12)
beaufortscaleleftBeaufort sea state (0-12) at left side (since 2017)
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
cueSighingt cue
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
sightingtimeenddefinition not provided
opticstypedefinition not provided
datetimeDate and time of the sighting at local time zone
datetimeutcDate and time of the sighting at UTC
surveyidSurvey ID
sightingnotesNotes field to capture information not covered by existing attributes or other information of interest
sightingnumberThe sighting number for the particular survey day
spcsnmsciScientific name
spcsnmcomCommon name of the sighted species. Output should be singular (e.g. bottlenose dolphin)
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)
photosFlag to indicate if photo was taken
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals466
Sea turtles5
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2015-01-02
Date, End2019-05-16
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude36.52 - 37.17
Longitude-76.29 - -74.94
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
Contr. throughNavy
Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Also available in OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
See metadata in static HTML
See metadata in FGDC XML
See download history / statistics