Research and analysis

Mapping UK shipping density and routes from AIS (MMO 1066)

The MMO has developed a new system to map locations of commercial and passenger vessels, to inform marine planning.

Documents

Mapping UK shipping density and routes from AIS

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Technical annex: Mapping UK shipping density and routes

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Report note: Mapping UK shipping density and routes from AIS

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Detail

UK shipping density maps and routes can be created to form a UK AIS dataset for 2011, 2012 and into the future as new data becomes available. The maps will help improve users understanding of sea area use by shipping.

The tools and routines created by this project are designed to decode and display AIS data supplied by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) which has been collected by their network of UK receiving stations. Through the use of common routines and methodology, future AIS processing and analysis can be conducted by UK administrations to a consistent and commonly agreed approach.

The report was published on 4 June 2014.

Data analysis software tool

As part of this project, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) developed open source software tools to process AIS data that can be downloaded using following link: MMO1066 AIS tool distribution package.

The tool is available under open government license you do not require permission to develop it for your own needs; however we would be interested to learn of the work you carry out with the tool and any improvements you may make to tool.

This is the context for the data analysis tool developed by this project – indicated as 2 in the following steps.

1. Raw data

The first step in the process is to get raw data. For this project this was AIS shipping transits data – this was positions broadcast by vessels of 300 gross tonnes or more in UK waters, provided by MCA.

If you are beginning at this stage, you must get raw data independent of MMO.

2. Data analysis tool

A data analysis tool is then used to process the raw data into a format that is compatible with use in geographic information system (GIS) software. This processing focuses on producing data that can be analysed by categories attributed to it, like type of vessel (in the case of AIS data).

This processing has been completed for AIS data in all waters within reception range (approximately 40 nautical miles) of the UK AIS receivers.

The 2011 and 2012 AIS data derived density grid products are available through www.data.gov.uk.

3. Processed data

At the end of data analysis by the tool, data compatible with GIS software is produced.

4. GIS software

Data sets can now be fed into GIS software such as ArcGIS.

5. Spatial information

Through GIS software, data can be interrogated, such as by category, to produce spatial representation reflecting attributes defined for the data, like a shipping density map.