Watching the ships roll in, 2.0 style
November 9, 2009 10:27 AM   Subscribe

MarineTraffic is a live map recording ship traffic based on AIS data. The site mainly covers European and North American coasts and includes info on vessels and ports, plus a gallery with some cool ship photos. Similar: see ShipAIS for live vessel movements from around the UK.
posted by madamjujujive (8 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
This is very cool. Also previously, previously, and previously.
posted by HumanComplex at 10:37 AM on November 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wow, thankyou!
posted by paperpete at 10:37 AM on November 9, 2009

They'll find Jimmy Hoffa before they find any hump-backed whales.
posted by cmoj at 10:42 AM on November 9, 2009

This is very cool. Also previously.
posted by darksasami at 10:56 AM on November 9, 2009

Nice. The equivalent for U.S. aircraft is flightaware, though the interface is not as sexy.
posted by exogenous at 11:28 AM on November 9, 2009

A few years ago, I bought a car through Volvo's "Overseas Delivery Program" where you pickup the car at the factory in Sweden, drive it around a bit and then they ship it to you in the U.S. I was able to use the car's VIN on Wallenius Shipping Lines' website to track the car from the dock in Sweden to unloading in the U.S., as well as some of the sites above to track the vessel's course as it went from Sweden to the U.K. and then across the Atlantic. Very cool.
posted by webhund at 12:25 PM on November 9, 2009

This has a special piece of nerd nostalgia for me. Around 30 years ago, my dad was working with the European harbourmaster's association on an automated ship tracking system. His group was investigating using small computers to track ships, so they had a mess of early home computers and homebrew software testing out tracking and messaging algorithms. For a while, the port of Rotterdam had its traffic monitored and reported by a TRS-80 ...
posted by scruss at 1:32 PM on November 9, 2009

FWIW, as part of my job I have access to Lloyd's AIS system. I compared the two systems using Rotterdam and Singapore as examples. This website only catches between 10-20% of the actual traffic.

However, reading though how they put this together, it looks like the spotty coverage is really a scaling problem, and once enough people are participating, the coverage should get better.

Until, of course, Lloyd's launches its bird next year.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:37 PM on November 9, 2009

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