Unknown track format

Rtrack can import raw track data in a number of different formats. Each of these formats has a track.format code which you need to pass to read_path or add to the experiment description spreadsheet. To work out which code is appropriate for your data, try running the helper function identify_track_format which will tell you if the track is in a supported format and what the Rtrack code for it is.

track_file = system.file("extdata", "Track_1.csv", package = "Rtrack")
## ✔ This track seems to be in the format 'ethovision.3.csv'.
## [1] "ethovision.3.csv"

File encodings

Life is never as simple as it could be, and working with raw data is no exception. While most text files these days use the standard UTF-8 encoding, many do not. This can be dependent on the software that exported the raw track files, the operating system you use and your locale. The function identify_track_format will also check your file for some of the more common encodings and add this information to the track.format code (if it is UTF-8 then this extra information is not necessary). If you know for certain what your file encoding is, then you can also manually add this information to the track.format code.

Unsupported track format

Although Rtrack supports many raw data formats, there are many more variations out there. There are no standardised guidelines for water maze (or other tracking) data, so every tracking software creates raw files in a dizzying range of formats. If identify_track_format cannot determine the format of your file, it will return NA and a message directing you to this page.

# Not a track file
arena_description = system.file("extdata", "Arena_SW.txt", package = "Rtrack")
## ✖ The format of this track cannot be determined.
##  Please visit http://rupertoverall.net/Rtrack/help.html for assistance.
## [1] NA

If this happens, first please inspect the track and try 2 or 3 other tracks from the same experiment. The identify_track_format function can fail if the track is empty (no path was recorded) of if the file is otherwise corrupt. If the files are good, but just in an unsupported format, please let us know; we will endeavour to add support for your format so you can get on with your work. In this case, we need some information from you:

  • A copy of one of the track files.
  • Some information about the source of the file (which tracking software created it?). A link to the web page of that software is also very helpful.
  • Your contact details so we can get back to you with questions or the solution.

This information can be either emailed to us or submitted to the github issues tracker.


If you discover a bug in the package somewhere, please let us know about it. A description of the bug together with a minimal reproducible example should be submitted to the github issues tracker.

Other issues

We are happy to recieve feedback if you have any other queries. The github issues tracker can also be used for feature requests or other useabilty issues. You can also contact us directly by email.