AIS on the Web, an update

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

13 Responses

  1. DefJef says:

    I notice some of these internet based AIS plotting services have some hefty fees. Who would subscribe to these services? What are some of the possible uses for land based subscribers to this service?
    How are they tracking all the AIS signals around the world?… From a very high antenna(s) at a land based station?
    If this is a collision avoidance system, why don’t naval craft have some sort of AIS signal?
    sv Shiva
    Contest 36s

  2. I am starting a completly free AIS website we are beta testing currently but anyone with an AIS reciever and broadband who wishes to share there data please contact me murray (at)

  3. Roger Bingham says:

    You know AIS is a great facility for all mariners. The big ships can see each other, VTS and CG can monitor shipping and we little ones can stay out of the way of big ones. At the moment that’s great. But what happens when every kayak, catamaran and cod catcher fits a transmitter as well as a receiver? Screens will be so cluttered they will be unusable until some sort of filter is developed. This is one thing that NOT everyone should have.

  4. GPSNavX says:

    Good navigation software will let you filter which targets you want to “see”. For example “stationary” and/or “underway”. Private small craft will use the “B” class transponders where larger commercial traffic will use the “A” class. While I agree clutter can become a problem, I would rather have the opportunity to see “everything” I want.

  5. DefJef says:

    When more or all vessels have AIS transponders the software to manage and process the data will have to increase in capability. For examplen the notion of a gaurd zone may not be as important as CPA and TCPA… which are the real deal as far as collisions are concerned. Another power over taking you off your beam is not a real concern.. but one on a collision couse IS… even when anchored and YOU are moving. But the software can handle this. In a suoper crowded area you need to be watching from the deck and not looking at some instrument display which is meta reality. The you need to rely on real reality.
    I only see AIS as a fabulous feature and the best thing since sliced bread in navigation since GPS.
    sv Shiva
    Contest 36s

  6. DefJef says:

    What is the actual penetration of AIS in the USA? I asked a captain of a very large motor yacht docked in Dering Harber, Shelter Island which clearly had sat com and all sorts of nav gear if he had AIS and he said, “No!”… which surprized me.
    The ferry running between Greenport and Shelter Island does not use AIS either… what gives?
    I have also had casual conversations with other yachtsmen and most have never heard of AIS. Although that is more understandable because AIS is not a requirement for private yachts (yet)… but as a collision avoidance item which IS avaible quite economically it seems odd that hardly anyone has got the news.
    Is this because the main electronics companies are not offering their own AIS receivers yet? I am using the NASA which is from UK.
    Why has this been so slow on the uptake here in the USA?
    In visiting one of the online AIS services I saw only 2 or 3 AIS targets in all of down east Maine… Could that be?
    sv Shiva
    Contest 36s

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    You’re right, Jef, it’s just penetrating some areas, markets, and brains! The Maine Ferry Service doesn’t use it, for instance. Yet. New requirements are in the works, 10-17,000 U.S. vessels worth, which I will write about soon. Also, at SeaLinks today I see three AIS equipped yachts which I’ve never seen before within 70 miles of my harbor. The MY “The Good Life” is headed into Camden; may have to go check it out this evening. Summer!

  8. While browsing the IMO site for another reason I came across the following that conflicts with all of the good things said about AIS on the world wide web (
    Maritime security – AIS ship data
    At its79th session in December 2004, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) agreed that, in relation to the issue of freely available automatic information system (AIS)-generated ship data on the world-wide web, the publication on the world-wide web or elsewhere of AIS data transmitted by ships could be detrimental to the safety and security of ships and port facilities and was undermining the efforts of the Organization and its Member States to enhance the safety of navigation and security in the international maritime transport sector.
    The Committee condemned the regrettable publication on the world-wide web, or elsewhere, of AIS data transmitted by ships and urged Member Governments, subject to the provisions of their national laws, to discourage those who make available AIS data to others for publication on the world-wide web, or elsewhere from doing so.
    In addition, the Committee condemned those who irresponsibly publish AIS data transmitted by ships on the world-wide web, or elsewhere, particularly if they offer services to the shipping and port industries.
    HMMMMM…. Terry

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Terry, I think you’ll find that many of the public AIS sites delay their plots to some degree. But overall isn’t this cat already out of the bag? I.e., if some bad guys have the gear and know how to somehow attack a ship or yacht, couldn’t they also easily have their own AIS receiver(s) on board or ashore?

  10. norse says:

    For those keeping score, the SiiTech AIS viewer
    counts the number of operational AIS transponders in your selected region. Right now, there are 1207 Class A and 30 Class B worldwide (in the area they monitor of course). In Europe that is 860 A and 29 B. In Scandinavia that is 624 A and 26 B. In the UK region that is 118 A and 2 B. North America 315 and 0.
    Now, how to get the FCC in gear? If you judge by when the FCC makes headlines, there two things the FCC cares about: spectrum auctions and covering up naked people. Our pleas based on safety and international cooperation have gone nowhere, so perhaps this new approach would work better. The theme is “Boaters feel naked without AIS” and as quid pro quo we offer them the S-band to auction off for cell phones or whatever. S-band radar isn’t good for detecting little boats anyway, so it’s a win-win for us. And AIS can do a better job than S-band radar at detecting large ships at large distances, so there is no down side for large ships either.

  11. I’ve recently added covering the River Orwell in the UK and Vancouver.

  12. VesselTracking says:

    There are several new sites on the horizon…
    Marinetraffic: and AISHub:
    Marinetraffic provides the web best visualization I’ve ever seen and AISHub is the first site providing access to raw data feed.

  13. logind says:

    AIS Monitoring Sevastopol, Ukraine:

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