Vessel traffic data, or Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, are collected by the U.S. Coast Guard through an onboard navigation safety device that transmits and monitors the location and characteristics of large vessels in U.S. and international waters in real time. In the U.S., the Coast Guard and commercial vendors collect AIS data, which can also be used for a variety of coastal planning purposes.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have worked jointly to repurpose and make available some of the most important records from the U.S. Coast Guard’s national network of AIS receivers. Information such as location, time, ship type, speed, length, beam, and draft have been extracted from the raw data and prepared for analyses in desktop GIS software.

BOEM and NOAA have also worked together to build a collection of tools and instructional materials. These are designed to help analysts process the data and derive products that improve offshore site analysis, use-conflict studies, and the understanding of marine transportation patterns.

The Data

Ship density map imageThe data available below contain records for U.S. coastal waters for calendar years 2009 through 2017. Records are filtered to one minute and formatted in zipped, monthly files by Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) zone. View the index map of UTM zones for an area of interest.

Ship name and call sign fields have been removed, and the MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) field has been encrypted for the 2010 through 2014 data at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard. These data are stored and distributed in the file geodatabase format.

Beginning in 2015, the Authoritative Vessel Identification Service (AVIS) was used to correct select fields that had either missing or outdated values, and the practice of encrypting the MMSI was stopped. These data are stored and distributed in comma separated variable (CSV) format.

Download the Data


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Users can now download a full year of AIS data at once using an open source software called wget.

2009: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2009/index.html
2010: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2010/index.html
2011: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2011/index.html
2012: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2012/index.html
2013: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2013/index.html
2014: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2014/index.html
2015: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2015/index.html
2016: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2016/index.html
2017: https://coast.noaa.gov/htdata/CMSP/AISDataHandler/2017/index.html

For assistance, please email us at info@marinecadastre.gov.

The Tools

Track Builder Pro 1.0

This ArcGIS Pro toolbox converts vessel positions into track lines, and track lines into a grid. Each grid cell reports the total number of times a vessel has passed through it. Input data can be in either a comma separated variable format or an existing file geodatabase. Users can define valid gap parameters along a track, and the resolution of the transit grid. AIS track lines and transit count grids can be used to generate maps of vessel traffic for transportation analysis and coastal and ocean planning.

Technical Specifications

  1. Requires ArcGIS Pro 1.2.x or above with a Spatial Analyst license
  2. Data must be in point format and include a date-time and unique identifier fields
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Track Builder 3.1

This ArcGIS Desktop toolbox reads and converts a collection of point features into a track line. Input data can be either in a CSV format or in an existing file geodatabase. This tool is especially useful for processing Automatic Identification System (AIS) data from the Marine Cadastre. For users with very large files, a command-line tool is also included that is optimized for 64-bit processing. AIS track lines can be used to generate maps of vessel traffic for transportation analysis and coastal and ocean planning.

Technical Specifications

  1. Requires ArcGIS 10.1 or later
  2. Data must be in point format and include a date-time and unique identifier fields
  3. While this tool can be used with any data set that fits the above requirement, it was developed to be used with the Automatic Identification System (AIS) data published from https://marinecadastre.gov/ais/

Vessel Codes 2018 Download


Track Builder 2.1.1

This tool converts a collection of point features into a track line. The input data must include date and time values for each point and an identifier to group points in a line. It is designed to work with data available from MarineCadastre.gov but will also function with other feature classes that contain a DateTime field and a unique identifier. When used with MarineCadastre.gov-formatted data, the tool also offers a function to extract vessel and voyage attributes from related tables for each line.

Technical Specifications

  1. ArcGIS Toolbox ArcPy script compatible with ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1 or later
  2. ArcGIS for Desktop Standard or Advanced license required for relationship class functionality

View Tutorial Download


AIS Data Handler Pre-Processor – Archive

For users with their own AIS receivers or other sources of raw (NMEA 0183 v.4) data, this pre-processor contains both a command-line tool to filter raw AIS log files and an add-in tool to load the data into a file geodatabase. Please note that this tool is no longer being supported but is still available.

View Tutorial Download


AIS Data Handler Add-In – Archive

This add-in tool extends ArcGIS with new functions to clean, filter, build, and analyze AIS data. Use this tool to process the data from MarineCadastre.gov or from the output of the AIS Data Handler Pre-Processor. Please note that this tool is no longer being supported but is still available.

Technical Specifications:

  1. Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, or 7 (32 or 64-bit)
  2. ArcGIS 10.0 full ArcInfo license required for relationship class functionality
  3. Spatial Analyst for density grid functionality

View Tutorial Download Source Code


Acknowledgments

U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center