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Abstract The Arc Marine data model is a generalized template to guide the implementation of geographic information systems (GIS) projects in the marine environment. It developed out of a collaborative process involving research and industry shareholders in coastal and marine research. This template models and attempts to standardize common ocean and coastal data types to facilitate data sharing and analytical tool development. In this study, Arc Marine is extended from its core model to fit the research goals of the whale satellite-telemetry-tagging program of the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute (MMI). The study sought the best customization of the generic Arc Marine data model to enhance the key advantages of satellite telemetry for mapping the distribution and movement of endangered marine mammal species. It was found that three new groups of object classes were needed (Animal, Telemetry, and Operations). Further customization involved the development of a comprehensive framework for animal tracking with Argos satellite telemetry data. A new multidimensional data cube model was also devised, showing how this extension of Arc Marine serves as an appropriate target schema for the application of on-line analytical processing (OLAP) tools and spatial data mining of satellite telemetry tracking datasets.