Map-a-Bat User Guide (archive)

Please note – due to positive changes in the bat detector market, we are no longer actively providing or supporting Map-a-Bat software.  We will support existing users as far as we are able, but changes to manufacturer’s software/detectors may prevent their data from working with Map-a-Bat.

Map-a-Bat is a productivity tool aimed at saving you time when analysing data from single or multiple detectors. It takes your analysed bat data, manipulates and enhances the data, and saves it for easy geographical and temporal analysis. It enables you to quickly proceed to the analysis stage without having to spend time wrangling data and merging data from different detectors, software, and formats.

The real value of your BatNav and Map-a-Bat data comes when it is displayed geographically, either in Google Earth or a GIS (ArcGIS, QGIS, or MapInfo) system. Having all your data in a standard format also allows you to statistically analyse your results using statistical software (e.g. the opensource ‘R’) or standard spreadsheet applications.

What is your time worth?


New features

Map-a-Bat and the BatNav GPS system is constantly evolving and our latest release introduces a number of powerful new features:

  • Works with all your detectors – if you regularly have surveyors using a mix of different detector systems, or large numbers of the same detectors out on a site, Map-a-Bat Pro will load data from them all – Anabat Express (with new transect mode firmware), SD2, SD1; Wildlife Acoustics’ Echometer EM3, EM3+, and EMTouch; Elekon’s Batlogger and Batlogger M; as well as auto-ID data from Kaleidoscope Pro/UK.
  • Calculation of sun offset times – works out how many minutes after sunset or before sunrise a bat call was recorded. This is a much more relevant means of comparing bat activity over a season – e.g. looking at activity within 30mins of sunset or sunrise, and on larger schemes with repeated surveys it can help to identify potential roost locations on your maps.
  • Merging of multiple surveys/surveyors – Map-a-Bat Pro will load data from multiple surveyors (e.g. a team of four surveying a single site on one night) or multiple surveys (e.g. a series of surveys at a site over the year) and merge them into a single output.
  • Increased GIS compatibility – Map-a-Bat Pro now offers the option to save CSV (comma separated variable) files for easier loading into ArcGIS, MapInfo, QGIS etc. The bat calls (with sunset/sunrise offsets as above) and GPS tracks are saved in separate CSV files for easy loading.


Core features

  • Map-a-Bat separates your files by species – even if there are multiple species in your Analook/Kaleidoscope/BatExplorer file.
  • Map-a-Bat exports KML files for quick and easy viewing of data in Google Earth, or for sharing with funders, stake-holders or other users.
  • Save Map-a-Bat project files for rapid re-loading of data sets



Map-a-Bat is available in two editions:

  • Map-a-Bat (Standard) – a three-user licence distributed with all BatNav GPS units
  • Map-a-Bat Pro – a site licence available for purchase from Wildwood Ecology.

Upgrading to Map-a-Bat Pro

If you have received Map-a-Bat with a BatNav GPS unit, or bought it as a stand-alone piece of software then you will likely have the Standard version. This is restricted to loading only a single pair of bat and GPS data files, and saving KML files only. The Pro version allows you to load an unlimited number of bat+gps files at once, merge them, and save the data as CSV files for easy loading into GIS systems. Contact Wildwood Ecology via [email protected] for upgrade information and pricing.


Version history

  • 1.0 – BatNav KML Generator – original version, based on Excel. Handled single data sets from Anabat SD1/SD2 only.
  • 2.0 – BatNav KML Generator – 2nd edition with a revised user interface and many under-the-hood improvements. Added ability to load zero-crossing data from the Echo Meter EM3/EM3+
  • Map-a-Bat 3.0 – 3rd edition with major improvements and a brand new user interface. Introduced a ‘Pro’ version with the ability to load and merge multiple datasets at once, and calculated the sun-offset time in minutes for each bat call.
  • Map-a-Bat 3.5 – latest edition, with support for all the major GPS-enabled/compatible bat detectors.



Support and training

Please note – due to positive changes in the bat detector market, we are no longer actively providing or supporting Map-a-Bat software.  We will support existing users as far as we are able, but changes to manufacturer’s software/detectors may prevent their data from working with Map-a-Bat.

If your problem is not listed in this manual please contact Wildwood Ecology via [email protected]

  • Training courses on Analook analysis software are run by Sandie Sowler, PhD, MCIEEM, suitable for all users from beginners through to advanced. Advanced Analook courses are suitable whether you are using Anabat SD1/SD2/Express, or EchoMeter EM3/EM3+ or SM2BAT/SM2BAT+. Visit for course details and dates.
  • The Bat Training Partnership runs the highly successful and respected Bat Licence Training Course (BLTC) for Professionals. Visit for more information.
  • Training on GIS systems is available from the excellent exeGesIS SDM –



Map-a-Bat installation

System requirements

Map-a-Bat and Map-a-Bat Pro v3 will run on any Windows PC running Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8, and both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. Map-a-Bat will not run on Windows 8 RT, Linux, or Apple operating systems.

You may need administrator access to install the software on some computers. Check with your Network Administrator if you are unsure.

CSV files can be used with Microsoft Excel for numerical analysis or with GIS software for spatial analysis. You must source and licence such applications (e.g. ArcGIS, MapInfo, and QGIS) separately. QGIS is an open source free-of-charge GIS program that offers a viable alternative to the main expensive systems – Likewise, R is an open source statistical analysis application – Google Earth and a broadband internet connection are required to display the KML output files.


Contact Wildwood Ecology to register your BatNav/Map-a-Bat licence, and receive the latest version of the software. Run the downloaded file (MABxxxSetup.exe or similar) and follow the prompts to install Map-a-Bat to your computer.

The installation routine will create a shortcut to the Map-a-Bat program on your start menu under ‘Map-a-Bat’, unless you change the name during installation.

Click on the Map-a-Bat icon to load the program.


When you first run Map-a-Bat you will need to activate the software.

BatNav GPS users

Map-a-Bat Pro site licence users

  • Enter the serial number of your BatNav GPS unit (printed on the base of the GPS) and the authentication code exactly as printed on the licence sheet.
  • You may install Map-a-Bat on up to three computers per BatNav GPS unit. If you purchase multiple BatNavs then the number of licenced computers can be increased – e.g. two BatNavs permits the software to be installed on 6 computers for use with either GPS unit.
  • A site licence is available from Wildwood Ecology on request.
  • Enter your company or user name and the authentication code exactly as printed on your Map-a-Bat licence sheet.
  • The licence agreement will outline how many computers at one physical location you can use your Map-a-Bat licence on.


Gathering data

Map-a-Bat is designed to analyse geo-referenced bat survey data – bat surveys conducted with a bat detector with a built-in (such as Elekon BatLogger or Anabat Express/Walkabout) or external GPS unit (such as Titley Scientific Anabat SD1/SD2, or Wildlife Acoustics’ EM3).

For each set of data you want to process in Map-a-Bat you must:

  1. Undertake your bat survey(s), using BatNav GPS or built in GPS
    • BatNav for Anabat SD1/SD2 users – Consult the BatNav user guide for details on how to use your BatNav GPS.
    • Other detectors and GPS units – consult your manufacturers’ user guides for instructions on how to use your detector and GPS.
  2. Download your data and analyse it using Analook / Kaleidoscope Pro / Bat Explorer as appropriate to your detector and recording format.
  3. Export your data in a format suitable for Map-a-Bat



Using Map-a-Bat with different detector systems

Map-a-Bat standard

Anabat SD1 / SD2 See detailed instructions in the following section, or:

  1. Download your data using CFCread, ensuring that the ‘create GPS’ file option is ticked.
  2. Identify your bat calls using AnalookW.
  3. Use Anahead to tag all your calls with their GPS location
  4. Extract the header data using Anahead (see Analook instructions in the following section).
  5. Load the header.txt and gps.txt files into Map-a-Bat Pro
Echo Meter EM3/EM3+ zero crossing data
  1. Identify your bat calls using AnalookW.
  2. Use Anahead to tag all your calls with their GPS location
  3. Extract the header data using Anahead (see Analook instructions in the following section).
  4. Load the header.txt and gps.csv files into Map-a-Bat Pro


Map-a-Bat Pro additional detector support

Anabat Express You must have a GPS-enabled version of the Anabat Toolbox (version 1.16 or later) on your computer, a GPS-enabled version of the Anabat Express firmware (version 5506H or later) installed on your Anabat Express, and that your time zone is set correctly on the Anabat Express via the Toolbox software (don’t forget changes between daylight saving time, summer time etc).The Anabat Express will only record a single GPS position (to set the internal clock and calculate sunset/sunrise times) when it is first turned on. You must activate the transect recording mode in order to record the position of each bat call and to record your transect route. To activate transect mode, turn on your Express then:

  1. Use the Select button to choose your recording schedule (‘Continuous’ is most appropriate for transect surveys)
  2. Hold down the Select button for approximately 5-seconds until the ‘GPS Lock’ light flashes rapidly.
  3. Release the Select button, and wait for the GPS unit to get a location fix – the GPS light will become constantly illuminated.
  4. Close the Anabat Express case, and check that the status light beside the microphone flashes when there is ultrasonic noise (e.g. rubbing fingers or jangling keys in front of the mic)

Undertake your survey as usual, then:

  1. Download and ID your data as usual using AnalookW.
  2. Extract the header data using Anahead (see Analook instructions in the following section).
  3. Load the header.txt and gps.txt files into Map-a-Bat Pro
Batlogger / Batlogger M Elekon’s BatExplorer comes with built in instructions and links to demonstration videos – look at the ‘Guidance and Documentation’ tab of BatExplorer when it first opens, or click on Help –> Guidance and Documentation.The BatLogger doesn’t record the GPS track by default. You will need to change the settings under the ‘Location / GPS’ section of the menu for GPS_mode to “On w/GPX”. If the GPS_mode is set to “On” then the GPS location of each of your bat calls will be recorded but you won’t have the corresponding GPS track of your route.To get the most from Map-a-Bat Pro you need to label each recording with the bat species it contains – use the built-in auto ID feature (“Suggest species”) or add the species manually based on your analysis. You can have up to two species per call (version 1.10.3 or later) which Map-a-Bat will split into individual records for plotting.To export your analysed data for use with Map-a-Bat Pro you need to:

  1. Select all the calls in your project:
    • Click on one call and then press ‘CTRL+A’ on the keyboard, or
    • Click on the first call, and then hold down the SHIFT key and click on the final call, or
    • Hold down the CTRL key and click on each of the calls you want to select
  2. From the File menu click File –> Export –> Selected recordings to CSV
  3. Use the Save As window to choose the location and name of your saved file – best to save it in the same folder as your BatExplorer project and call data.
  4. Load the projectname.csv (bat call data) and detectorserial_date.gpx (GPS track data) files into Map-a-Bat Pro.

Important – to ensure all the relevant data is exported you need to change the export settings: Tools –> Options. On Export tab by the “Recordings CSV” fields you need the following fields to be exported as a minimum: Recording, Timestamp, Species Text, Species 2nd Text, Latitude [WGS84], and Longitude [WGS84].

EM3 / EM3+ / EM Touch full-spectrum data – using Kaleidoscope Pro/UK Wildlife Acoustics’ Kaleidoscope Pro/UK comes with a detailed set of instructions built-in (press the F1 key or use the menu to browse to Help –> Help Topics.)Instruction videos are available on the Wildlife Acoustics’ website, including a training webinar.

  1. Use Kaleidoscope Pro to automatically identify your bat calls. Correct the classifier results using the Manual ID function where necessary.
  2. Ensure that you extract the GPS track, saving it in CSV format with a one-second waypoint frequency.
  3. Save the data and close Kaleidoscope Pro.
  4. Load the id.csv and gps.csv files into Map-a-Bat Pro.
EM3 / EM3+ full-spectrum data – using BatSound or other software Sorry but it’s not possible to directly load data that has been identified using BatSound or other manual software. If you wish to map data gathered and identified in this way then you should follow these instructions:

  1. Use Kaleidoscope (free) to process the data (even if not converted from WAC to WAV) in order to generate an ‘idmeta.csv’ file. This will create a spreadsheet file with an entry for each of your sound files.
  2. For each sound file you can then manually type the species ID into the “Manual ID” column of the spreadsheet. This will also keep a better record of your bat data.
  3. If you then save this file (ensure you re-save it as a CSV file, not an Excel XLS file) you can then load it into Map-a-Bat Pro along with the associated GPS.csv file to map the data.
Echo Meter Touch Contact us for instructions



Processing Anabat recordings with Analook

Process your Anabat data according to your normal analysis procedures. A few additional steps may be required as follows.

Geo-tagging your calls

Following a survey undertaken using a BatNav GPS or other GPS device, when you download your data from your CF memory card CFCread does not automatically add the GPS coordinates to each Analook file. Follow this procedure to manually geo-tag your bat calls:

  1. Open the first of your calls in AnalookW
  2. Click on Tools –> Anahead (ignore any error messages, if they appear). The Anahead window has three sections:
    Screenshot from Anahead
    Screenshot from Anahead – left column shows the Windows folders, middle column shows the Analook files in the selected folder, and the right column shows the selected GPS track (if any)
    • Check that the calls in the middle column are from your GPS-tracked survey.
    • IMPORTANT – when you open Anahead the files are not sorted in time order flomax order. This may cause problems when adding GPS data now or exporting them later. To sort the calls by time order click on any other folder in the left hand window, and then click on the folder you originally started in. You should see all your calls are sorted in time (filename) order, as in the screenshot above.
  3. Click Positions –> Choose File.
  4. Find the gps.txt file for your survey, select it, and click ‘Open’.
    • The selected track should appear in the right hand column – see image above.
    • The track name will be displayed in the following format – TK yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss hh:mm:ss e.g. TK 2011-06-25 21:00:00 23:30:00, for a survey on the 25th June 2011, with the GPS data saved from 2100 to 2330.
  5. Click Positions –> Track.
    • A warning will appear “WARNING You are about to permanently change position data in all the selected files. CONTINUE?” – you can safely click Yes to proceed.
  6. A small window will state ‘Processing files’ as it scans through all the selected files.
    • If you receive an error stating “Not all files included in chosen track” or “Chosen track doesn’t include first file” then you will need to select only the files in the middle column that are within the track times. See the Troubleshooting section at the back.
  7. If no errors are displayed, close Anahead.
  8. If you then scroll through your files in AnalookW, the position for each file will be displayed in the header at the bottom of the screen (Click View –> Header if not already visible).


Species identification – labelling your calls

In order to gain maximum benefit from Map-a-Bat you should label your Anabat calls with the bat species (one or more) present within each recording. This step is optional but greatly increases the value of the subsequent data, allowing for mapping or analysis by species.

To configure your Analook species list open the Species toolbar, if not already displayed (Toolbar: View –> Species List)

An array of 40 buttons will appear at the top of the screen. If you right click on each button in turn you can add a label up to 8 characters long (NOTE – only use letters and numbers in your species labels. You cannot use spaces, and punctuation or other non-alphanumberical characters can have unexpected effects.) Label as many buttons as necessary based on the bat species you are likely to encounter during your work. You only have to do this once. When your species list is complete save it by clicking the ‘Save As’ button to the right hand end of the Species List.

When working in a team environment it is helpful if all team members use the same species list. This will ensure that all mapped points of the same species are kept together.

To label a call with a bat species:

  1. View a call in the Analook window.
  2. Analyse the call in your normal manner to ascertain the species/family/genus.
  3. Click on the appropriate species button to label the call. You will see the species appear in the ‘Species’ field in the Header toolbar at the bottom of the window (Toolbar: View –> Header)

For further information on labelling calls, or using filters and scans to semi-automate your identification visit


Exporting Analook data

Once you’ve identified all your bat calls the final step is to export the data in a format that is suitable for loading into Map-a-Bat.

  1. Open the first call of your data in Analook
  2. Open Anahead (in Analook toolbar click Tools –> Anahead)
  3. In Anahead select the folder containing your sequence of calls
    • IMPORTANT – when you open Anahead the files are not sorted in time order. This may cause problems when loading them into Map-a-Bat later. To sort the calls by time order click on any other folder in the left hand window, and then click on the folder you originally started in. You should see all your calls are sorted in time (filename) order, as in the screenshot above.
  4. On the toolbar click File –> Download. This will create a file called ‘header.txt’ in the same folder as the corresponding Analook files.

The header.txt file contains all the information about the bat call, species label, and GPS position information.




Using Map-a-Bat

Load Map-a-Bat from the Start Menu entry or desktop icon. On opening one of the following screens will appear, depending if you have the Standard or Pro licence:

Screenshot showing the main screen of the standard version of Map-a-Bat, free with BatNav GPS units
Screenshot showing the main screen of the standard version of Map-a-Bat, free with BatNav GPS units
Screenshot showing main screen of Map-a-Bat Pro software
Screenshot showing main screen of Map-a-Bat Pro software



Loading survey data

To load your data into Map-a-Bat or Map-a-Bat Pro:

  1. Enter Project name (e.g. site name, survey name, internal reference)
  2. Set the Timezone relative to GMT before you load data – for the UK in the summer months this is ‘1’.
  3. In the ‘Survey data’ box click ‘Add survey data…’
    • Browse to the header.txt file you wish to load. Click OK.
    • The survey ID window will appear – enter a reference for the particular data set (e.g. the surveyor’s name or initials, or the survey name – e.g. Northern Transect). If left blank the ID will default to the folder name.
    • If Include GPS track automatically’ is ticked, Map-a-Bat will automatically load the corresponding gps.txt (Anabat) or gps.csv (EchoMeter). If Map-a-Bat can’t find the GPS file a file window will appear – manually browse to the correct GPS file.
  4. The bat data (and GPS data if loaded) will be loaded and a summary displayed in the table as follows:
S Tick boxes to select a row or rows for editing – see Manipulating loaded data below
Surveyor/ Survey ID The ID entered when the header.txt file was loaded, else the folder name if no ID chosen
Bat recs The total number of bat records within the file
Calls From / Calls To The date and time of the first and last bat calls within the header.txt file
GPS recs (x/y) The number of GPS positions loaded, and the total number of GPS positions available
GPS From / GPS To The date and time of the first and last GPS positions within the GPS file


  1. Map-a-Bat Pro only – you can load further sets of survey data by repeating step 2 until all data for your project/survey night is loaded.
  2. In the ‘Save as’ box select your output file types (KML / CSV)
    • The survey start and end times are automatically generated from the first and last bat calls or GPS track.
    • You can add a buffer to the start and end of the times based on bat calls, or you can directly edit the times in the boxes.
  3. Click ‘Save files…’ to save your data.
    • Browse to your desired save location and click OK.
    • Depending on the quantity of data loaded and the GPS waypoint frequency Map-a-Bat may take some time to process the data and may appear to freeze.
    • Upon completion Map-a-Bat will display a window confirming how many records have been saved within your KML and/or CSV (Map-a-Bat Pro only) files. If you have saved a KML file you will be given the option to open it directly in Google Earth (if installed)



A number of options are available during the loading process:


Survey data options box:

Include GPS track automatically If ticked Map-a-Bat will attempt to automatically find and load the GPS track data file (gps.txt or gps.csv) that corresponds to the bat data file (header.txt) that you add
Waypoint frequency Choose the time period between the points in your GPS track – a higher value will result in a coarser map (e.g. plotting your position every 60 seconds), whilst a lower value will result in a more detailed map (e.g. plotting your position every 5 seconds.)A higher frequency (1-15 seconds) is better for faster surveys such as driven transects, whereas a lower frequency (30-60 seconds) is more suited to slower walked transects
Timezone relative to GMT Add the difference in hours (between ±1 and ±12) between your timezone and GMT/UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).For countries ahead of UTC (i.e. eastern hemisphere) enter a number from +1 to +12; for countries behind UTC (i.e. western hemisphere) from -1 to -12.Note that you will need to correct for Daylight Savings Time/Summer Time if active in your time zone. For example, in the UK enter ‘1’ for surveys undertaken during British Summer Time, or leave the box blank for winter surveys. For South Africa enter ‘2’ all year-round. For central Europe enter 1 in winter and 2 in summer time. For eastern USA enter -5 in Eastern Daylight Time and -4 in Eastern Daylight Time.To check your time zone and UTC offset visit
Kaleidoscope Pro data – Minimum confidence to include [Map-a-Bat Pro only] Enables you to choose which bat calls are plotted based on the confidence or ‘margin’ that Kaleidoscope Pro has assigned to it’s analysis of each recording. This is a value from 0 – 1, with the higher the number indicating a more accurate identification. The values are relative, and are only comparable within and not between species.
Show excluded as generic species [Map-a-Bat Pro only] If the minimum confidence slider has excluded calls you can still include them in your analysis by plotting them as “?Bat” markers.

Save as box:

KML – Google Earth Tick to save your data as a KML file for use with Google Earth or other suitable viewer
Hide labels? Only available if KML is selected – hides the labels in Google Earth to minimise the display clutter
CSV – GIS systems, Excel etc. [Map-a-Bat Pro only] Tick to save you data as CSV [comma separated value] files for easy loading into GIS programs or for analysis using Microsoft Excel, or for loading into statistical programmes such as R
Survey times The start and end time of the data to be exported. By default the times will be based on the bat calls (if only bat data is loaded) or the GPS tracks (if GPS data loaded).You can manually change the times in the Start / End boxes, or alter the buffer time that is added to the first and last bat calls.


Manipulating loaded data

To alter data that has already been loaded, put a tick in the “s” column for each row(s) that you wish to alter. You can select more than one row at once (Map-a-Bat Pro only) and the program will then process each row in turn. Choose from the following options:

Change ID Allows you to alter the Surveyor/Survey ID
Add / remove GPS track Manually adds or removes the GPS track
Delete Deletes the whole row
Reload Reloads the bat and GPS data – use this to change the number of GPS track waypoints saved – alter the ‘Waypoint frequency’ in the ‘Survey data’ box, and then reload the rows.


Saving a Map-a-Bat project

You can save your project as a Map-a-Bat Project File (*.mab) which allows you to quickly reload your selection of bat and gps track files at a later date (e.g. if you quickly loaded data following a survey but before you have identified your bat calls).

From the file menu click ‘Save Project As…’ and browse to the location in which you want to save your file.

To load a previously saved Map-a-Bat Project File you can either:

a) Use the file menu: File –> Open Project

b) Select the project from the recently used file list at the bottom of the File menu

c) Double click on the projectname.mab file in the saved folder location.


Default settings

You can change the Default Settings for many functions via the Settings –> Options menu:

General tab

Default folder Set the folder you would like Map-a-Bat to always open first when you add a file
Default Project Prefix The default prefix of your project names – e.g. initials, or company name, or office
Google Earth Location The location where Google Earth is installed on your computer – enables Map-a-Bat to automatically open your new KML file. Click the button to change location.

Import tab

GPS settings Choose the default values for load the GPS track automatically, waypoint frequency, and timezone. You can change the waypoint frequency options by editing the values in Frequency Options – enter times in seconds, separated by commas. You will need to click OK and then re-open the Options screen to change the default to a value you’ve just added.
Substitute missing GPS data from next record if within 10 sec When the EM3 detector is saving files (particularly large WAC files) there is a short period when it doesn’t log the GPS position. This can also happen with other detectors if the GPS cable is loose. If this box is ticked (default) Map-a-Bat will automatically use the next available GPS position. A position no later than 10 seconds after the bat record will be used, to ensure that the location is as accurate as possible. If you are undertaking fast driving surveys then you may want to untick this option.

Export tab

File types Set the default file types to save
Start/end tolerance Set the default time tolerance you’d like to add to your bat/gps data


Map-a-Bat output

Map-a-Bat data can be save as two different file types: KML (both versions) and CSV (common separated values – Map-a-Bat Pro only.)

KML files (both versions)

The KML files saved by Map-a-Bat are suitable for loading into Google Earth or any other software (including GIS) that can read the standard KML file structure.

The sun offset and sunset/sunrise time it is based on is visible if you click on each individual data point in Google Earth.

CSV files (Map-a-Bat Pro only)

Map-a-Bat Pro saves two CSV files – your bat call data with the suffix _BAT.csv and your GPS track data with the suffix _GPS.csv


The _BAT.csv file contains a row of data for each bat encountered during your survey. Where two bats were recorded in one Analook file, the records are presented on separate rows.

The key column headings for use in analysis are:

Timestamp Date and time of the bat call, in the format yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss
Latitude /Longitude GPS position of the bat call, using WGS84
Species Species name as entered in Analook/Kaleidoscope/Batexplorer

Sunset Offset (i.e. for dusk surveys)

Time in minutes after (+ve) or before (-ve) sunset that the bat call was recorded

Sunrise Offset

(i.e. for dawn surveys)

Time in minutes before (+ve) or after (-ve) sunrise that the bat call was recorded
Sun Offset Sunset or sunrise offset time – included so you can analyse all calls in relation to the sun time, irrespective of whether it’s a dusk or dawn survey
Survey ID ID of the surveyor/survey that recorded the call, as entered in Map-a-Bat

Other columns retain the Analook file name, detector ID, date, time, and any other notes you may have added within Analook, as well as the Margin (confidence) value from Kaleidoscope Pro/UK.


The _GPS.csv file contains the GPS track data for your surveyors, with the waypoint frequency as set in Map-a-Bat dictating the how often the data is saved.

The key columns for plotting in GIS are:

Latitude /Longitude GPS position of the surveyor, using WGS84
Timestamp Date and time of the bat call in the format yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss
Survey ID ID of the surveyor/survey route, as entered in Map-a-Bat


Sunset/sunrise offset

Map-a-Bat calculates the time in minutes for each of your bat calls in relation to the setting or rising sun.

Dusk surveys – for bats recorded in the period from sunset up to 2am Map-a-Bat will calculate the time of the call in minutes after sunset (positive number = after sunset, negative = before)

Dawn surveys – for bats recorded in the period from 2am to sunrise Map-a-Bat will calculate the time of the call in minutes before sunrise (positive number = before sunrise, negative = after)

The actual sunset/sunrise times calculated may be slightly different to those noted from other sources, but will be accurate for the specific site. When analysing data you should assume that the sun offset times have an error of up to ±5 minutes.



Loading Map-a-Bat Pro data into Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

These guides assume that the user is familiar with the respective GIS programmes and proficient at loading and manipulating data, and changing between coordinate systems for different datasets. Seek appropriate training if necessary.

QGIS (formerly known as Quantum GIS)

To load your bat CSV file into QGIS:

  1. Use the Add Delimited Text Layer tool (top menu: Layer –> Add Delimited Text Layer…)
  2. Browse to the saved CSV file, and click ‘Open’ to load.
    • QGIS should automatically identify the X/longitude and Y/latitude fields.
  3. Click ‘OK’ to load the layer
    • The ‘Coordinate Reference System [CRS] Selector’ window will appear. Map-a-Bat and all GPS data is all based on World Geodetic System 1984.
    • Find and select ‘WGS 84’ under coordinate reference system or EPSG:4326 under Authority ID.
    • Click OK to continue.
  4. Once loaded, right click on the layer in the Layers panel, and click ‘Save as…’
    • Select the format (typically ESRI Shapefile)
    • Browse to the Save as location and name the file appropriately
    • If you want to change the CRS (e.g. to Ordnance Survey British National Grid) then you can do this at the point of saving by Browsing to the new CRS
    • Tick ‘Add saved file to map’
  5. Click OK to save the layer.
  6. Your layer will be displayed and visible in the layers panel with the same name as the CSV file. Repeat for the GPS track file which will display your track waypoints as a series of point data.

The QGIS plugin ‘Points2One’ is useful for joining the GPS track points up into lines. Install the plugin from the QGIS repository.

  1. From the top menu go to Vector –> Points2One
    • Select the GPS track csv layer as the input point layer
    • Select ‘Lines’ as the output geometry
    • Under multiple processing enable ‘Create output features based on input field’ and select ‘Survey ID’ from the drop down box.
    • Under output shapefile click ‘Browse’ to choose the location to save the new layer
  2. Click OK to process the data.



To load your bat CSV file into ArcGIS:

  1. Use the Add Data tool (top menu: File –> Add Data)
  2. Browse to the saved CSV file, and click ‘ok to load.
  3. Right-click on the new layer and choose ‘Display XY Data…’
    • Ensure that the X and Y fields were selected correctly by ArcMap – X field = Longitude and Y field = Latitude
    • Click the Edit button to select the coordinate system. Map-a-Bat and all GPS data is all based on World Geodetic System 1984.
    • Find and select ‘Coordinate Systems > Geographic Coordinate Systems > World > WGS1984.prj’
  4. The layer will be displayed in your Table of Contents with the same name as the CSV file.
  5. To permanently save the layer, from the menu go to Data –> Export Data…
    • Pick the output location and name the file appropriately
    • Click OK to save the layer.

Repeat for the GPS track file which will display your track waypoints as a series of point data.

To convert the GPS track point data to lines, use the ArcToolbox Points to Line feature (Data Management Tools –> Features –> Points to Line) (ArcGIS 10) or follow the instructions here ( for ArcGIS 9.3.



To load your bat CSV file into MapInfo:

  1. Open the CSV file (top menu: File –> Open) and browse to the CSV file
    • Tick “Create copy in MapInfo for read/write” box
    • In the CSV Information box mark the data as comma delineated and to use the first line of data as column headings
  2. The CSV file will now open in the Browser View.
  3. From the menu select: Table –> Create Points
    • Under ‘Get X/Y Coordinates from Column’ choose X = Longitude and Y = Latitude
    • Click the Projection button and set as World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84)
    • Click OK to create the points
  4. Create a new map window or add the points to your current map window to view them.

Repeat to load the GPS track CSV data.

Use the MapCAD tools (‘Create lines from Database’) to join the GPS track points into lines.



Viewing Map-a-Bat data in Google Earth

Google Earth is the default viewer for the KML files output by Map-a-Bat. Google Earth can be downloaded for free from –

Installation instructions are provided by Google – if you are having difficulties then visit:

Google Earth free vs. Pro

Formerly a ‘paid for’ version (costing £270+VAT), Google Earth Pro is now available for free (as of early 2015). The free version of Google Earth can be used non-commercially or for internal business use. A Google Earth Pro licence enables you to use Google imagery in all business documents (e.g. reports, licence applications) and to publish or sell those documents.

Google Earth Pro tip – Google Earth Pro requires a licence key. If you do not have a key, use your email address and the key GEPFREE to sign in.

Manipulating your data

You can select which species icons are displayed on your map, in addition changing the colour, size, and shape of icons and labels.

  • At the left hand side of the Google Earth window sits the ‘Places’ sidebar. Your open BatNav KML file will appear under Places –> Temporary Places, and with the Project Name/Description you entered in Map-a-Bat, or the file name if no name was entered.
  • Click on the +/- icons to expand or contact the folders.
  • Click on the tickbox icons to show or hide each species or the transect route.
  • Right click on a species to edit the settings – the name, icon, description, style, and colour. If labels are hidden you can show them again by changing the label scale value on the ‘Style, Color’ tab – 1.0 is the standard scale.

The timeline

Your transect data can be viewed using the timeline to follow your route – helpful when parts of your route overlap or with multiple transects along the same route.

The start and end time of the displayed data can be changed, or you can ‘play’ your data and view the sequence of bat calls.

If no calls are displayed it’s often because the start and end time have changed – this can occur when you’ve shown/hidden different species. Drag the start time slider to the left and the end time slider to the right to show all calls again. For more information visit: