The satellite-based AIS
The satellite-based maritime traffic information system is managed through the Canadian company exactEarth, which is the result of a joint venture between COMDEV and Hisdesat. The ten satellites in this new constellation receive AIS signals from the over 60,000 vessels that are equipped with this system. The data are then relayed to ground stations, where the information is collated and prepared in accordance with the requirements of the system’s various users. This new constellation of satellites will provide an accurate picture of the world’s maritime traffic in real time.
Working from space, AIS compiles static, dynamic and route-related data, identifying ships that are close to the coast and those that are on the high seas. All of this information is available via internet to any computer on Earth, where it can be processed and put to use. Accuracy is an essential element of the AIS. The system can offer details on the vessel’s identity, its location, course, speed, navigational status, destination and cargo, any maneuvers made, draft, length, registry, surf conditions, rocky areas, fuel consumption, etc. This information can be of great use to government, maritime, port and fishing authorities.
In all, ensuring the safety of seagoing vessels is a tangible reality with the AIS satellite-based maritime traffic control system, which can also facilitate search and rescue operations involving persons and vessels. The system thus also fulfills a high-priority humanitarian need.
Another fundamental aspect is environmental protection. The accuracy available with AIS systems, along with the information that the satellite radar can provide, lets us forecast the spread of maritime pollution, foster a respect for the environment and aid in enforcing international protection protocols. The preservation of the Earth is an objective that we cannot renounce, and having at our disposal mechanisms that can help prevent natural disasters, prevent and monitor the pollution of sea, continental and ground water and ultimately ensure the quality of the environment is a huge leap forward in this regard.
AIS satellite-based maritime traffic control systems address the need for solutions intended to ensure the viability of the broad and significant concept of maritime safety, and they help reduce our impact on the environment. They represent innovative ways of putting outer space at the service of society.