Using AIS to inform Marine Spatial Planning and marine industries
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) require all marine vessels over 300 gross tonnage on an international voyage, all cargo vessels greater than 500 gt, and all passenger vessels irrespective of size to be fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS). AIS is a shipboard transponder which automatically transmits vessel information, through VHF, as a ship to ship or ship to shore signal. Transmitted data includes information on the vessel identity (mmsi number), position, speed, course, vessel type, dimensions, and other information as outlined by Ou and Zhu.
An increasing number of marine users have recognized the benefits of having an AIS system fitted aboard their vessels which has resulted in a large quantity of available vessel data ranging from large oil tankers to pleasure craft and sailing ships. The European Commission has additionally stated that all fishing vessels greater than 15 m in length must be equipped with an AIS system by 31st May 2014.