Minimize Overview
The monitoring of the seasonal and spatial variability of fishing grounds and support to the implementation of the international regulations (eg. vessel monitoring) are the key elements of this application.

Minimize Ship Traffic

Global overview of maritime traffic

15 June 2010

Web Content Image "The COLAIS (Columbus AIS) experiment was switched on at the start of June," said Karsten Strauch, ESA’s project manager.

"To give an idea, more than 90 000 Class A AIS messages were gathered between 19:00 GMT on 2 June and 09:00 GMT the following day, giving a global overview of maritime traffic."

With commissioning completed, the experiment is run remotely and the results are routed via the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany to COLAIS teams.

"We are currently testing the NORAIS receiver, built by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Kongsberg Seatex," explained Mr Strauch.

In three months’ time the Station crew will switch it with a second receiver called LUXAIS, the work of Luxembourg companies Luxspace and Emtronix. For the next two years we will go on swapping between these receivers."

The Station’s orbit crosses all major shipping lanes. The main challenge is simply that far too many vessels are detected at once, leading to signal overlaps and interference. The Station’s 7 km/s speed also distorts the signal. The receivers therefore need to be capable of high-performance signal detection and message decoding.

Being hosted on the ISS, COLAIS can be kept updated in the future simply by astronauts swapping receivers, or fixing any problems that arise.

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