06 November 2009

θαλασσα θαλασσα

Since I've been using the Web for over 15 years, it's not often that a site leaves me gob-smacked. But of all the sites I've seen recently, Marine Traffic is definitely one of the most amazing:

This web site is part of an academic, open, community-based project. It is dedicated in collecting and presenting data which are exploited in research areas, such as:

- Study of marine telecommunications in respect of efficiency and propagation parameters
- Simulation of vessel movements in order to contribute to the safety of navigation and to cope with critical incidents
- Interactive information systems design
- Design of databases providing real-time information
- Statistical processing of ports traffic with applications in operational research
- Design of models for the spotting of the origin of a pollution
- Design of efficient algorithms for sea path evaluation and for determining the estimated time of ship arrivals
- Correlation of the collected information with weather data
- Cooperation with Institutes dedicated in the protection of the environment

It provides free real-time information to the public, about ship movements and ports, mainly across the coast-lines of Europe and N.America. The project is currently hosted by the Department of Product and Systems Design Enginnering, University of the Aegean, Greece. The initial data collection is based on the Automatic Identification System (AIS). We are constantly looking for partners to take part in the community. They will have to install an AIS receiver and share the data of their area with us, in order to cover more areas and ports around the world.

Basically, then, it shows in *real-time* the positions of ships along major sea-lanes around the world. Hovering over their icons brings up information about that ship, including its speed and heading. Other pages have background data on ports and the ships. But the most amazing thing is just watching the shipping traffic gradually *move* in front of your eyes...

Free, open and gobsmacking: what more do you want? (Via Global Guerillas.)

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Unknown said...

Very cool. I thought it was broken when I looked at Rotterdam shipping area as there were many boats inland, but zooming in, turns out they are barges on the canals.

Glyn Moody said...

@goron: yes, I was confused by the ships in the middle of Europe, too - and then realised they were on the rivers...

Crimperman said...

That is remarkably cool. Particularly that you can find a single vessel and clicking on one will show you details, including a photo if available.

Glyn Moody said...

@Crimperman: indeed, the level of richness is amazing