Use of regional HELCOM AIS data discussed at HELCOM Secretariat
The current and future uses of the regional HELCOM AIS data were discussed in a dedicated open seminar last week at the HELCOM Secretariat. HELCOM says the open event, part of recent fast developments around one of the first regional AIS data networks, was attended by researchers, national AIS data experts and companies.
Since the launch in 2005 the HELCOM AIS network has enabled the HELCOM Contracting Parties (Denmark, Estonia, European Union (EMSA), Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden) as well as Norway to share the live Automatic Identification System (AIS) data received by their national base stations. It has also generated a unique regional database on historic ship movements in the Baltic Sea.
The network itself, and the resulting data, is overseen by the dedicated HELCOM Expert Working Group on AIS and data, meeting annually since 2002. The network server is, since this year, hosted by Norway.
AIS data from this regional network is increasingly used for various purposes extending far beyond operational safety of navigation, including analysing emissions from ships and enabling accidental spill risk assessments in the Baltic Sea.
However, the wider HELCOM community, especially research, has only recently been able to use this valuable information in full, due to the lack of joint and openly available data processing methods, tools and definitions. Examples of such products include traffic density maps which can be used for various purposes from Maritime Spatial Planning, safety and environmental policy. The same issues are facing AIS data users around the world.
The seminar debated different approaches and uses of AIS data in order to support the development of the needed joint and open data processing methods, tools and definitions for the HELCOM community and beyond.
HELCOM AIS Working Group is a sub-group of the HELCOM Maritime Working Group. It governs the regional AIS network and meets annually since 2002.
HELCOM is an intergovernmental organization made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union. Founded in 1974, its primary aims as the governing body of the Helsinki Convention are to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.
This includes pollution from ships and safe maritime navigation, fields where the work involves regional dimensions of IMO regulations and initiatives. The full official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.