Thursday, July 07, 2011

Tracking Vessel Positions Online

By using the Ship’s Automatic Identification System, we can now easily track the location of the ship anywhere in the world. For Layman’s understanding we have to define first what is an Automatic Identification System or AIS.
From Wiki, The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated tracking system used on ships and by Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and VTS stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

A marine traffic coordinator using AIS and radar to manage vessel traffic.

An AIS-equipped system on board a ship presents the bearing and distance of nearby vessels in a radar-like display format.

A graphical display of AIS data on board a ship.
Information provided by AIS equipment, such as unique identification, positioncourse, and speed, can be displayed on a screen or an ECDIS. AIS is intended to assist a vessel's watch standing officers and allow maritime authorities to track and monitor vessel movements. AIS integrates a standardized VHF transceiver with a positioning system such as a LORAN-C or GPS receiver, with other electronic navigation sensors, such as a gyrocompass or rate of turn indicator. Ships outside AIS radio range can be tracked with the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system with less frequent transmission.
The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires AIS to be fitted aboard international voyaging ships with gross tonnage (GT) of 300 or more tons, and all passenger ships regardless of size.
Useful Websites using AIS to locate ships are:
The first to provide real time ships movement across the globe but needs registration and password. They have launched the applications for mobile phones.
They provide the information required in the maritime industry using both Satellite and Terrestrial tracking. We can also see the data on ship movements, course, speed and time of arrival.
They provide vessel information using Google Earth application. Google Earth is freely available for personal use and provides very detailed and efficient browsing in world's satellite maps.
The website uses AIS info or ships’ name to track its location, the weather observations as well as tide and current information.
Enjoy tracking your ships!
Wiki, marine traffic, sailwx, vesseltracker
wiki, ask

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