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Satellites CAN pick up and relay sea-level AIS transmissions!

Yet for many in the maritime industry, this goes against what they know about the capabilities of AIS. For a long time now, AIS has been understood to be a short range, ground-based, line-of-sight, radio system that works in coastal areas with shore-mounted receivers and between individual vessels at sea. And that is indeed how it began in 2002. However, as early as 2006 it was discovered that low-orbit satellites could detect AIS signals and since 2008 AIS receivers have been deployed in satellites by companies such as ORBCOMM, exactEarth and Spacequest. These collect AIS data and transmit it back to earth stations from where it can be accessed and processed by BigOceanData and others.

Since then, these space-based receivers have increased in density and sophistication, ensuring faster message delivery, larger message sizes and better coverage at higher latitudes, while increasing network capacity. As a result, response times (latency) are falling all the time, delivering ever greater accuracy. BigOceanData is at the forefront of ensuring that its clients benefit from these advances as soon as they become available. Unlike many other providers, BigOceanData delivers satellite AIS data as standard, ensuring that all its customers get the most accurate data possible. Contact us to find out more.


About BigOceanData
BigOceanData is a leader in maritime tracking and telemetry, delivering global vessel tracking and monitoring services along with fleet management tools via its sophisticated browser-based interface. Key features of the BigOceanData product include its ability to fuse data from AIS signals and a range of onboard satellite reporting systems so as to both improve position accuracy and reduce data costs. The system also integrates a series of data feeds and management tools that show users not only vessel locations and movements, but situational data such as marine charting, terrestrial mapping, weather and sea-state (current and forecast), and piracy and other security alerts.

For more information contact or call +44 (0) 207 998 3048.

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BigOceanData is a vessel tracking software portal and service provider for maritime and vessel management.

If you would like more information, please email

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