Time-depth recorders sample information about the three- dimensional behavior of diving animals over time and reduce this into just two dimensions, depth and time. Even so, interpretation of the data may still be difficult because of the volume of data and the detail that remains. Comparison of dive “shape” across individuals, geographical locations, or species presents problems because its analysis may involve subjective judgments or arbitrary distinctions. More constraints may be imposed if a telemetry system is used to transmit the data. Here we present two approaches for dive data compression and analysis. The first (applied before storage and transmission) selects the most important time-depth points in a profile where depth Vs. time trajectories change most significantly. The second (used to either preprocess or postprocess dive information) creates a dimensionless, depth, and duration independent index (TAD), which encapsulates the relevant information from dive profiles on where the diver centers its activity with respect to depth during a dive. Its use facilitates comparison across dives performed at different times or places, within or between individuals or species, irrespective of the duration and depth of their dives. Both can be used to reduce the amount of information sent or stored about dive behavior and can facilitate dive analysis.