AIS stands for Automatic Identification System; it is an automatic autonomous tracking system that uses transceivers on ships and is used by Vessel Traffic Services (VTS).  

Back in 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires all passenger vessels, as well as all commercial vessels over 300 GT (Gross Tonnage) sailing internationally to be equipped with a Class-A AIS transponder. 

Back in 2002, the Safety oLife aSea (SOLAS) had already introduced the same conditions for smaller vessels, but it only require ad Class-B AIS transponder (Class B AIS transponders are mainly used by recreational vessels and smaller commercial vessels). Information transmitted by Class-B transponders is visible to all AIS receiving equipment. 

Common for both Class-A and Class-B is that they broadcast information from every 2 to 30 seconds. 

The popularity of AIS has grown exponentially in recent years. AIS transceivers help skippers navigate high-traffic areas by painting an overview of marine traffic and providing important information about nearby commercial ships and other vessels that are AIS-equipped.  

AIS is a simple system that transmits dynamic information about the vessels like position, course, speed, vessel name, call sign and Mobile Maritime Service Identity (MMSI) number. 

It is important to mention that an AIS transponder does not replace the radar, but it benefits from the propagation characteristics of VHF (Very High Frequency), and it allows the shipper to see around and behind objects such as large ships, rocks, islands etc.  

AIS transponders use GPS signals to get position data and VHF signals to send and receive other data.  

Using the AIS WEB system from GateHouse Maritime operators can create reports with the most important data to the management team, monitor maritime activities, prevent cable damage, it can avoid collisions and track vessels around the globe. AIS data is crucial for developing machine learning models and intelligent algorithms to automate fuel consumption and navigation. It can also solve problems like predicting port arrival times, determining optimal routes, and mapping all these activities. 

There are 3 types of AIS Data: Satellite AIS (S-AIS), Dynamics AIS (D-AIS) and Terrestrial AIS (T-AIS).  

  • S-AIS provides enhanced vessel data in remote areas where T-AIS is out of reach. 
  • D-AIS provides an unprecedented impact in unique MMSI´s received and the frequency of position updates in HTZ.  
  • T-AIS provides ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship communications within 40 nautical miles. 

The AIS WEB system from GateHouse Maritime uses multiple data sources to achieve your business goals, and here is what our customers say: “Data delivered from GateHouse Maritime is at least 20% better than all other suppliers. The reason is the +20 years of filling up our Data Lake”.  

If you are interested in hearing more about how we can help you optimize your sailing route and thus sail greener, be predictive about your ETA and avoid congestion in ports etc. please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Contact us and learn how we can help you


Written by
Marianne Berg Eisenhardt
Chief Sales Officer
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