Maritime AIS Data:Your Complete Guide

Dec 10, 2021

Maritime Tracking Data:

Maritime AIS Tracking Data is an incredibly insightful modern technology that brings a lot of advancement to various fields and applications.

It uses AIS tracking data which allows people to obtain real-time information about vessels such as speed, country, heading, etc. This allows us to solve a range of problems that are associated with cargo ships. It can also bring additional benefits to increase transport efficiency and predict optimal routes for fast and fuel-friendly travel.

As you can see, this data can be valuable for businesses that will need to make data-driven decisions to streamline their businesses and increase profit margins. Through data analysis in maritime management, they can understand how cargo ships transport their goods in real-time and make any changes accordingly.

AIS Data:

However, Maritime Tracking Data is not without any of its obstacles. This topic can be pretty complicated to understand at first.

Therefore, it needs technical prowess and some patience to understand. In addition, maritime data management and tracking may require an initial investment in technology which is not feasible for everyone.

In the following guide, we will talk about this topic in detail to know everything you need to know about Maritime Tracking Data.

AIS maritime data tracking management

Let’s get started. 

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding AIS Data
  2. Importance of AIS Data
  3. AIS Technologies  
  4. Challenges of AIS Data

1. Understanding AIS Data

When it comes to Maritime Tracking Data, you will see the abbreviation AIS thrown around a lot.

This may cause a lot of confusion, so it is important to understand what AIS is and its link to Maritime Tracking Data.

AIS stands for automatic identification system and is a tracking system that allows us to see vessels in a particular area. It displays real-time information about vessels from anywhere in the world.

AIS Data understanding

This is done through AIS technologies installed on these vessels. These devices provide nautical data exchange between the ship and receivers. These technologies are usually transponders that allow us to track them and include other types of tech we will discuss in other chapters. There are three types of AIS data that you need to understand. They are:

Terrestrial AIS

Terrestrial AIS allows data exchange from ship to shore and shore to ship for distances up to 40 nautical miles. This is the standard type of AIS data.

Satellite AIS

Satellite AIS is used when vessels are located in remote waters too far away for terrestrial AIS to be used.

Also called S-AIS.

Dynamic AIS

Dynamic AIS is the most innovative form of maritime tracking that enables real-time vessel tracking through several satellite receivers.

This removes a lot of gaps in data that can exist with standard Maritime Tracking Data.

2. Importance of AIS Data

Brings a range of benefits and features to the table for the maritime industry. They make AIS a definitive data source for Maritime Tracking Data and its applications.

These qualities provide practical value for vessels during their travel that gives them more situational awareness.

They are also helpful for businesses that rely on the transportation and logistics of their goods.

Importance AIS Data maritime

:The practical value for vessels involves using AIS to avoid collisions as it improves their situational awareness. This makes it less likely for them to collide and cause delays or even fatal accidents.

AIS data can be invaluable for vessels in time-sensitive situations if there are vessels dangerously close. This involves data to analyze the type of ships nearby and exchange between vessels with AIS data transponders. For example, this is a critical issue with tracking fishing vessels around the globe as they tend to saturate at a specific zone. Additionally, this is also useful when the weather makes waters unideal for maritime travel. AIS data can be paired with radar to provide the ultimate navigation tracking system. Of course, if a vessel is in trouble or goes dark, search and rescue teams can be dispatched promptly.

The data can be used to find the last known locations and to rescue the crew involved. 

AIS Data In Business:

Crucial from a business point of view. The maritime industry consists of so many business sectors that span the majority of the industry.

Therefore, maritime data and its management become vital for businesses to make vital decisions. Let’s take an example. Let’s consider the infamous Suez Canal that took place recently, where a giant cargo ship ended up blocking the whole canal. This ended up causing many businesses a total of almost $100 million loss. If the ships stuck in the canal had known of the blockade beforehand, they could have minimized this loss. Perhaps they could have taken an alternate route or not dispatched until the problem had cleared.

Maritime Tracking Data aims to minimize these losses by tracking vessels and noting patterns to identify future problems. 

Now that we have understood its importance, it’s time to look at the AIS technology that enables the system to work. 

3. AIS Technologies

AIS technologies enable us to make use of AIS data for Maritime Tracking Data.

Data transfer in AIS systems generally takes place from vessels to other vessels and land-based tracking systems. The types of AIS are divided into Class A and Class B. Class A is used by large commercial vessels, while Class B is used by lighter vessels.

These lighter vessels may include smaller shipping vessels or yachts that are used for leisure purposes.

AIS maritime tracking device

AIS systems generally consist of transmitters and receivers and communication links to the ship’s systems and sensors.

It is the receiver that is attached to the vessel that provides its position and timing. Ships can provide other AIS data from their equipment and sensor systems.

It is vital to ensure that the AIS system is always turned on. Otherwise, tracking data of vessels will not be possible. This is because AIS tracking relies on constant vessel tracking. AIS vessels can look at other vessels with AIS in their vicinity.

4. Challenges of AIS Data

AIS data is quite helpful, but it also has its limitations and challenges.

These can end up impacting decision-making and costs in the maritime industry.

We will go through the critical challenges.

AIS Data maritime challenges

Maritime AIS data in its initial form is very raw and unorganized, which makes it practically useless. When it is organized, it can be precious. It needs to be sorted to organize the data, which is why maritime businesses will look for maritime data management services that help sort out this data.

These can cost money, and they can’t focus on sorting through it themselves as the system is convoluted and outdated. The AIS systems have not been updated for many years, so this sorting needs dedication. 

How much the maritime AIS data can be accurate?

It may not always be accurate as not all ships make use of AIS systems. Additionally, the crew on ships can easily turn off AIS data on their ships which makes tracking them quite tricky. This allows them to undertake any illegal activity they may want to do in remote waters that do not have radar systems. 

AIS technology is also not specialized for maritime tracking as it was initially meant to be used only for collision avoidance.

This means a ludicrous amount of information can overload the systems, causing signals and data to be lost. This makes it harder to identify crews who willingly turn off AIS data as they could claim that it was a system malfunction. These data gaps and transmission failures are only now being looked at through new solutions, but they have not yet been implemented. It could be a while actually before it does. 

Vessel Tracker


Maritime AIS Tracking Data is a valuable modern technology as it enables us to track vessels and their information. This can be useful for a variety of businesses as well as for the vessels themselves. These benefits are immense in number, but as we have seen, these are not without their challenges and that is why Datalastic is here, to succeed your Data needs in future possible challenges!

We hope this guide has been definitive and has helped elevate your understanding of Maritime Tracking Data. 

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