In this paper, we present Ishtar, a lightweight and versatile collection of software for remote data access and monitoring. The monitoring architecture is crucial during the development and experimentation of autonomous systems like Micro Air Vehicles. Ishtar comprises a flexible communication layer that allows enumeration, inspection and modification of data in the remote system. The protocol is designed to be robust to the data loss and corruption that typically arises with small autonomous system, while remaining efficient in its bandwidth use. In addition to the communication layer, Ishtar offers a flexible graphical software that allows to monitor the remote system, graph and log its data and display them using a completely customisable cockpit. Emphasis is put on the flexibility to allow Ishtar to be used with arbitrary platforms and experimental paradigms. The software is designed to be cross-platform (compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux) and cross-architecture (it is compatible with both microcontroller- and embedded-PC-based remote systems). Finally, Ishtar is open source and can therefore be extended and customised freely by the user community.