AIS (Ship Tracking)
This is going to be so great!
As part of the 200 year rememberance of the War of 1812 where the British dominated the Chesapeake bay and burned parts of Washington D.C. and Baltimore a huge set of international ships from old sail to modern military will cruise the Chesapeake Bay June 12th to 13th, 2012. I expect the Middle Bay should be filled with hundreds of ships in the late morning of Wed 6/13/2012 after over-nighting on the way north at the mouth of the Chesapeake. Check out the web sites (below) to get fired up! We will be web casing live (with audio) from our deck at the highest point in the area with our high def web cams with our live ships tracker (AIS) and cameras and video cams going. This is truly a historic event not to be missed! Check out our Live Web Cam (far view) for a rough idea of our viewpoint.
A new service is now available to folks who don’t have a $2000 AIS transmitter but want to make their boat visible to others via an iPhone or other GPS Smartphone … why do this? You can then monitor a live AIS map like we have at middlebay and see other AIS boats and ships with you craft shown as well. Here is the email from Marine Traffic who hosts this free service:
Are you sailing out of the range of MarineTraffic AIS receivers? Your vessel does not have an AIS transponder? Use your smart phone on board to report the positions of the vessel to MarineTraffic.
iAIS is a mobile application that makes possible to use your mobile device to report the positions of a vessel to MarineTraffic. GPS-enabled devices (iPhone/iPad and Android coming soon) can be used to report the position, the details and the status of a vessel in case an AIS transponder is not available or the vessel is out of the range of MarineTraffic’s AIS receivers.
iPhone/iPad: Open the App Store and search for ‘iAIS marinetraffic’ or just follow the link:
Android: Open the Android Market on your mobile device and search for ‘iAIS’. Alternatively, open the current page in the web browser of your mobile device and click on the following link: market://search?q=pname:com.marinetraffic.iais
One of our favorite features of this site (http://widgetblender.com/middlebay) is the live ship tracking. It is an interesting system where radios with GPS chips on ships, boats (and sometimes planes) send out their locations to AIS radio receivers on land. We have such a receiver and by connecting it to the internet we can send reports to a central server (we use a free one in Greece) that we all then can use to render the nice real time positions on top of Google Maps. The result is the Ship Tracker page – click here or in the page bar above. It is a nice blend of widgets.
One interesting thing about the radios is how the coverage radius falls with atmospheric conditions - both day/night and season effects. Our AIS Station 589 performance over several months shows this. Where May through December we were collecting ship contacts covering up to 5500 sq klicks it now down to around 2000 – a pretty dramatic change (see graph below).
The large Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal at Cove Point has been quiet lately … one wonders if all the Natural Gas production in PA and elsewhere from fracking is making it less economical to import (from Norway, North Africa). Perhaps the direction will change and we will start shipping our LNG overseas? Ship data for pictured ship:
Ship Type: Tanker
Year Built: 2006
Length x Breadth: 284 m X 43 m
DeadWeight: 67800 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 16.4 / 14 knots
150 mile range for our AIS receiver setup. For some reason VHF propagation has really improved past two days. Night and day thing. Also I think the J Pole antenna is helping as well. I found a pick which just displays the ships which a particular station is reporting on. Its called Current Reception. Heres the ships 589 is reporting on at the moment. Just a week ago 30 miles was pretty good and now its 150.