Automatic Identification System (AIS) - Software Engineering and Data Processing

Since 2010, RPS has supported NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to provide the coastal planning, science, and engineering community with geographic data, tools, and methods to improve access to and analysis of vessel traffic data that is available through the United States Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System (AIS) data. 

RPS has processed annual archives of AIS data for the United States starting from 2009, in a standardized and filtered Geographic Information System (GIS) compatible format. RPS has also developed and updated software to aid in the reading, processing, and analysis of AIS data.

Timeline

  • 2010

    RPS started the project.

  • 2011

    April 2011 - The first version of the AIS processing tools and 2009 AIS data

  • 2012

    June 2012 – Updated AIS processing tools and 2010 AIS Data 

  • 2012

    October 2012 – First version of the AIS Track Builder and 2011 AIS Data

  • 2013

    December 2013 – Updated AIS processing tools 

  • 2014

    May 2014 – Updated AIS Track Builder and AIS processing tools, 2012 AIS Data 

  • 2015

    March 2015 – Updated the AIS Track Builder

  • 2015

    May 2015 – 2013 AIS Data, track line, and vessel density data products

  • 2015

    August 2015 – 2014 AIS Data, track line, and vessel density data products, AIS Change Detection tools

  • 2018

    September 2018 – Updated AIS processing tools and AIS Track Builder, developed the AIS Vessel Counter tool, 2015 – 2017 AIS Data, track line, and vessel density data products

  • 2019

    Currently, the project is ongoing.

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2010

RPS started the project.

2011

April 2011 - The first version of the AIS processing tools and 2009 AIS data

2012

June 2012 – Updated AIS processing tools and 2010 AIS Data 

2012

October 2012 – First version of the AIS Track Builder and 2011 AIS Data

2013

December 2013 – Updated AIS processing tools 

2014

May 2014 – Updated AIS Track Builder and AIS processing tools, 2012 AIS Data 

2015

March 2015 – Updated the AIS Track Builder

2015

May 2015 – 2013 AIS Data, track line, and vessel density data products

2015

August 2015 – 2014 AIS Data, track line, and vessel density data products, AIS Change Detection tools

2018

September 2018 – Updated AIS processing tools and AIS Track Builder, developed the AIS Vessel Counter tool, 2015 – 2017 AIS Data, track line, and vessel density data products

2019

Currently, the project is ongoing.

Key Details

Project Name

Automatic Identification System (AIS) - Software Engineering and Data Processing 

Client

NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) 

Sectors

  • Ports
  • Oil and gas
  • Renewables
  • Security and safety

 

Locations

  • Coastal continental United States, inland rivers, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam

Services Provided

Software Development: 

  • Tools for data filtering, extraction, and conversion 
  • Tools for data visualization and analysis 
  • Tools to create data products 

Data Processing: 

  • Annual AIS filtered data from 2009-2017 in various data formats 
  • Vessel trackline data products 
  • Vessel transit count and density products 

Challenge

AIS data consists of vessel position reports transmitted at a frequency of 2-10 seconds, with each report containing information about the vessel and voyage. A single day of raw AIS data for the US is approximately 3.5 gigabytes of data and a set of annual data can be over 1.25 terabytes. This massive amount of data presents challenges for accessing, processing, and for performing any analysis to make decisions based on this data. Additionally, the raw AIS data format cannot be read by any standard GIS software packages. 

Solution

RPS has developed software that can read the raw AIS format, standardize the data, and filter the vessel position data to 1-minute time steps. This software loads the filtered data into a relational database that can facilitate rapid data queries, filtering, and extraction. Monthly AIS data products were prepared by UTM zone in various formats, for manageable data distribution allowing users to perform analysis on smaller subsets of data for a specific geography and time period of interest. RPS has also developed tools to prepare, and have prepared summarized data products that are ready for analysis, including individual vessel track lines and vessel density or transit counts for each major US ocean basin.  

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Project Statistics

9
years of vessel traffic data for US waters
>11
Terabytes of raw AIS data processed
25x109
vessel position reports prepared
4x106
vessel track lines prepared

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