Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a mandatory international navigation safety communications system under the provisions of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Conventions endorsed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The Convention requires ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards engaged on international voyages, cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards not engaged on international voyages, and all passenger ships irrespective of size to be fitted with AIS transponders. For more information, visit allaboutais.com
Through such research and development activities at exactEarth, AIS signals can now be detected by a satellite in a low earth orbit and provide a global capability for monitoring all AIS-equipped vessels using a satellite constellation and an extensive network of ground stations.
Satellite AIS is a relatively new technology that has changed the landscape for monitoring the maritime domain. Improving upon existing technology already deployed aboard most large vessels across the globe, Satellite AIS is truly revolutionary in providing a complete and global picture of the world’s shipping.
The exactEarth technology platform consists of a number of elements:
- AIS Transponders: The source of data for our exactAIS® service is the AIS transponders that are already installed aboard more than 165,000 vessels worldwide. No changes to existing onboard equipment or additional procedures are required to the vessel.
- Satellite Payloads Receivers: Designed to receive AIS data from the exactView™ space constellation are the result of several years of focused research and development, and have led to technology that is uniquely capable of “de-colliding” the signals received simultaneously from a large number of vessels. This has resulted in the highest ship detection levels commercially available.
- Ground Stations: A series of ground stations strategically located around the globe are in place to receive data from the satellites as they pass overhead on every orbit. The downlinked and fully encrypted data is then sent from the ground station to our Data Processing Centre.
- Data Processing Centre: A secure computer facility processes and stores the data received from the series of ground stations. This facility is a top tier data centre with extremely high reliability, including redundant power, cooling, fire suppression and physical security systems.
- Operations Centre: The In-House Operations Centre manages both the collection of the Satellite AIS data from the satellite network as well as the dataset configuration and distribution of data feeds to the various customers around the world.
- Customer Delivery Data: Delivered to competent maritime authorities through a variety of highly secure methods. Customers can select either a data interface within their existing display system, a web-based display, or a comprehensive turn-key solution.