The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a short range coastal tracking system used on ships. It was developed to provide identification and location information to vessels and shore stations with the aim of exchanging different types of data including position, identification, course, speed and others. This allows vessels to anticipate and thus avoid collisions at sea by means of continuous traffic monitoring. Additionally it offers important ship monitoring services to coastal guards as well as search and rescue organizations.
AIS transponders automatically broadcast information at regular intervals. These signals are received by AIS transponders integrated on other ships or by land based systems.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) as a regulatory agency originated in the late 1990s has set up and is operating the SafeSeaNet (SSN) system. The near real-time positioning system is based on AIS information and deals with information on ships and their hazardous cargoes in and around EU waters, including port and HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials) notifications.
In the past years it was confirmed that reception of AIS signals from space is feasible. Space-based AIS technology can detect far reaching vessels equipped with AIS tracking devices that would be impossible to detect by conventional shore-based systems and can provide an additional source of maritime information that will add value to the European Integrated Maritime Surveillance concept.
EMSA and ESA have started in 2007 a mutual collaboration agreement in the field of maritime monitoring and surveillance.
In the framework of this cooperation, it has been proposed to add a “space node” to the existing servers of the SSN system that will add AIS data received via satellite to the SafeSeaNet, the Satellite AIS server.
This satellite AIS server will be jointly implemented by EMSA and ESA via the Data Processing Centre (DPC). EMSA is the cooperating partner in this ARTES 20 demonstration project.
The data processing centre will collect SAT-AIS and ancillary data from the ground stations, process them also making use of the Earth observation data in order to deliver enhanced SAT-AIS data to the users through the SSN and other interfaces.
The Data Processing Centre demonstrator is made up of two components: the ESA DPC Element also named “Block 2”, and the EMSA DPC Element which is to a large extent composed of EMSA Business Oriented Platform (BOP) and also named “Block 3”.
Block 2 is in charge of collecting and processing SAT-AIS data in order to deliver enhanced SAT-AIS information to Block 3 as well as to other users under request for validation purposes only. Block 2 processing performs a number of functionalities including AIS message validation, recovery of partial messages, time stamping, forecasting of SAT-AIS messages, etc.
Block 3 is part of the wider EMSA Business Oriented Platform (BOP) that ingests AIS data received from terrestrial and satellite sources. Within the EMSA BOP, Block 3 will be in charge of interfacing to Block 2 to collect SAT-AIS data and to merge these data with other data sources (e.g. terrestrial AIS) in order to serve the maritime community. In the frame of the present ITT, the ESA DPC Element shall be developed and subsequently integrated and tested with the EMSA DPC Element.
You may obtain further information of this open invitation to tender on ESA’s EMITS website, reference AO6644.