Initialize Tags

Initializing SPOT or SPLASH Tags

Why is the initialization process important?

 Note: Do not initialize pop-up tags

We highly recommend tag initialization prior to deployment for our SPOT and SPLASH tags to help ensure locations are received as quickly as possible after deployment, regardless of animal behavior. Tag initialization allows Argos to determine a quality location prior to the tagged animal being released. This is significant because the Kalman filtering algorithm uses measurements from both the current satellite pass and from previous satellite passes (such as during testing at Wildlife Computers) to calculate positions and requires an initial quality location. A quality location is achieved when four or more messages are successfully received by Argos during a single satellite pass.

If a good quality “seed” location is not achieved prior to deployment, then it must be obtained while on the animal. This can be problematic, as it can take several days, even weeks, for surfacing behavior to allow for a quality location hit while deployed. After a good quality seed location is achieved, location estimates are possible from only one or two messages per pass. A seed location must be obtained within four days of deployment.

Initialize TagsTag initialization allows you to provide that necessary high-quality “seed location” for the Argos system.

  • This should be done near your deployment site rather than at a remote location.
  • If you are in an area without an Internet connection, please refer to “Offline Mode” in your tag’s user manual.

Before you initialize your tag(s), read the tag’s User Guide section on how to perform an “Argos Transmitter Test.”

There are two options for running the test:

  • Start the Argos Transmitter Test and leave the tags out for four to six hours. This allows the signal to be transmitted to the Argos satellite that passes over during that time frame. Or,
  • Run a pass prediction report first via the Argos website to determine when satellites will pass overhead. Then start the Argos Transmitter Test. Place the tags outside in a good view of the sky. This helps ensure the signal is transmitted during the known satellite time.

If you need additional help, consult your tag’s user guide or review the following documents:

Utilizing Argos Pass Prediction Software –
How to Maximize Satellite Coverage –
Argos Pass Analysis App –

Google Translate »