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New StormGeo Global AIS Service
Uses Satellite Data for
Ship Monitoring & Routing

StormGeo Shipping Insights, August 2012
By Rich Brown, Vice President of Product Management

Here at StormGeo, we’re driven to provide our clients with the latest technology innovations in the industry. That said, we are excited about our new product, the Global Automated Identification System (AIS) service. This is the first time that AIS satellite data is being used in ship-routing, enabling tracking to be done on a global scale. With the use of this data, we can now make accurate ship-tracking faster, easier and more cost-effective.

What is AIS?
AIS is an automated tracking system that is used for identifying and locating vessels. AIS is an automated tracking system that is used for identifying and locating vessels. AIS transponders automatically broadcast information such as their position, speed and heading at regular intervals via a VHF transmitter built into the transponder. These transponders are required aboard international voyaging ships with gross tonnage (GT) of 300 or more. 

AIS Fleet

AIS Fleet

Historically, this information has been primarily used by other ships for collision avoidance since the transponders have a horizontal range of only about 35 nautical miles (NM). However, these transponders have a much longer vertical range, which means that this information can also be picked up by satellite. Now, with access to this satellite information, AIS tracking can be done on a global scale.

Why use AIS in ship routing?
In the past, ship monitoring has been limited because only terrestrial AIS data was available. StormGeo is now combining terrestrial data with satellite data to provide more comprehensive global coverage. This means that accurate monitoring is possible even when ships are in blue ocean.

Customers can track their ships through StormGeo’s fleet management system, GlobalView™, in an easy-to-read, visual format. Through GlobalView, customers can see the ship’s latest position and also the historical positions, making it easy to see where the ship’s been and where it’s headed. This means that customers will know right away if ships are being held up by bad weather or having to take an alternate route.

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For example, during a voyage, vessels often need to stop for repairs or refueling. For example, during a voyage, vessels often need to stop for repairs or refueling. With the use of StormGeo Global AIS, clients will often be able to detect these stoppages, even before the Captain has had a chance to report it. Fleet managers can also see when vessels are approaching high-risk areas, such as the pirate area in the Indian Ocean, and make sure that their insurance is up to date and the Captain has taken the appropriate security precautions.

Combining AIS with StormGeo Services
Sometimes just monitoring a ship's position isn't enough. Sometimes just monitoring a ship’s position isn’t enough. For example, since break bulk vessels need extensive shore-side resources for unloading, an accurate ETA is very important.

In instances like these, StormGeo Global AIS can be combined with tracking and routing services to provide customers with an accurate ETA. This ETA is continuously updated as new data is received, ensuring that customers always have the most up-to-date information in GlobalView. This information is also sent out daily by email with StormGeo’s Fleet Status Report.

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According to Anthony Birch, Marine Assistant, Operations, Africa Express Lines, "StormGeo’s Global AIS service greatly benefits us. When combined with GlobalView, not only does it give us positioning of the entire fleet on-screen, but you get the added bonus of overlaying the weather, clouds, visibility, waves, current speeds, etc., and this list goes on. It is an invaluable source of information and in a neat little package."