Satellite AIS: Novel Data Uses and the Year that Was

2016 was a historic year for ORBCOMM’s satellite AIS data business, and started in the glow of the successful launch of our new OG2 satellites, which have continued to improve our industry-leading Automatic Identification System (AIS) service.

satellite aisWe’re now able to process over 18 million messages per day, and are tracking and monitoring over 180,000 unique vessels per day. Maritime and terrestrial customers alike are now receiving up to 10 times more satellite passes and up to 14 times more views per day, which is well ahead of our competitors.

With several recent wins in both the government and commercial sectors, ORBCOMM has reaffirmed its position as the industry’s preferred provider of satellite AIS data:

(Read ORBCOMM’s full 2016 Year in Review here)

Last year also saw an increasing number of examples of new and innovative uses for AIS data, beyond traditional vessel location and collision avoidance. Here are a just a few that we covered:

AIS: The Largest Maritime Paradigm Shift in Over a Century
George Guy Thomas argues why satellite AIS has created the largest maritime paradigm shift since the introduction of the steam engine and the screw propeller, and discusses some of the evolving uses of AIS.

IUU FIshing: AIS Data Shines a Light on Global Commercial Fishing Activity
How Global Fishing Watch, a collaboration between Oceana, Google and SkyTruth, is using AIS data to help end illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Aviation Safety: AIS Data Helping Protect Lives in High Seas and Altitudes
With data from more than 220,000 vessels, pilots now have critical vessel location information to help in the rare event an emergency over water.

LRIT and VMS: AIS Beyond Collision Avoidance
Satellite AIS is an important secondary source of location information that complements data from other tracking systems like Long Range Identification & Tracking (LRIT), Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) used in fisheries, and satellite imagery.

Satellite AIS for Maritime Safety
AIS is not reserved exclusively for ships. Lean how AIS is used to help save lives in applications ranging from Man Overboard (MOB) devices to virtual emergency beacon systems.

What other novel uses have you seen lately for AIS data? Please post your comments below, and feel free contact me anytime to talk satellite AIS and maritime domain awareness.

Andrew Loretta

Andrew Loretta is Director, Maritime Business Development for ORBCOMM. For more information on the ORBCOMM Satellite AIS system, please contact us at or visit

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , ,

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