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.
Automatic Identification System (AIS) - Software Engineering and Data Processing
NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
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.
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.