Generic FAQs

The International Maritime Organization’s International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea requires that an Automatic Identification System (AIS) device be fitted aboard all international voyaging ships with gross tonnage (GT) of 300 or more, and all passenger ships regardless of size.

An AIS device uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to constantly monitor the vessel’s position. This position information is broadcast using pre-formatted message techniques which can be received and understood by other AIS-equipped vessels in the vicinity. In this way vessels are able to navigate more effectively maintaining safe distances from each other.

AIS coastal stations can monitor the positions of all AIS-fitted vessels within range of the coast (typically out to 20 miles). This allows authorities ashore to improve their awareness of vessel movements and to enhance existing coverage from shore-based radar systems.

In the last 5 years it has become increasingly common for AIS data to be collected using satellites equipped to eavesdrop on the AIS VHF frequencies. This so-called Satellite-AIS (S-AIS) allows AIS data to be collected when ships are beyond the normal coverage of coastal receiving stations (Terrestrial-AIS) thereby providing trans-oceanic vessel monitoring capabilities. The use of satellites means there is a significant cost-of-acquisition of the oceanic AIS data.

AIS coastal stations can monitor the positions of all AIS-fitted vessels within range of the coast (typically out to 20 miles). This allows authorities ashore to improve their awareness of vessel movements and to enhance existing coverage from shore-based radar systems.

In the last 5 years it has become increasingly common for AIS data to be collected using satellites equipped to eavesdrop on the AIS VHF frequencies. This so-called Satellite-AIS (S-AIS) allows AIS data to be collected when ships are beyond the normal coverage of coastal receiving stations (Terrestrial-AIS) thereby providing trans-oceanic vessel monitoring capabilities. The use of satellites means there is a significant cost-of-acquisition of the oceanic AIS data.

BigOceanData takes AIS data from a combination of terrestrial and satellite AIS receivers and combines this with data from a plethora of other sources to provide vessel operators and port agencies with all they need to understand and manage vessel activity.

The AIS information is displayed against a map backdrop based on Google maps but with full access to global sea charts supplied by the C-Map . A single click takes the user from the vessel icon on the map to powerful information such as vessel activity for the last 72hours and the last 10 port calls made by the ship.

A full report suite is available to facilitate more detailed analysis of vessel activity, either on an individual or whole-fleet basis. The production of these reports can be automated and they can be sent to pre-agreed e-mail or SMS addresses on a scheduled basis, if required.

The AIS information is sensitised against weather and sea state information, piracy activity and sensitive areas (such as Nav Area Warnings and Marpol zones).

No – the AIS system does not support 2-way communications ship to shore.

For applications where such communications are necessary or where specific data needs to be sent from vessels to operations HQs ashore, dedicated vessel management devices are required. Such devices use maritime communications services (such as Inmarsat and Iridium) to send data from ship to shore, and vice versa. These devices provide high levels of cooperation between vessels and shore-based operating agencies; however, they require the use of satellite airtime for the transmission of the data signals.

For many applications, such as fishery control and offshore security solutions, these so-called cooperative devices are essential. BigOceanData has been supplying end-to-end solutions of this kind since the mid-1990s. We are one of only a few service providers in the world able to mix data from dedicated tracking devices with AIS data for advanced vessel tracking and management applications.

No – AIS is unsuitable for SSAS because it does not support the sending from ship to shore of a ‘Panic’ alert. Essentially, the SSAS legislation requires a dedicated 2-way tracking and communications device. Typically, Inmarsat-C equipment has been utilised for SSAS although other devices are used to satisfy the requirement.

The BigOceanData portal includes a ‘SSAS Alert Manager’ feature to collect SSAS alerts and send them on to the relevant flag authorities by e-mail and/or SMS. This re-routing of the alert is automatic but is accompanied by an on-screen pop up to alert the local vessel management team. All alerts are recorded in the system database and can be re-produced in report format.

BigOceanData supports a number of different type-approved SSAS devices, including the Sailor 6120, whenever new or replacement equipment is required. Where a supplier of a SSAS service is no longer available or a change in provider is required, existing SSAS equipment can be ‘repointed’ to the BigOceanData portal so that the reporting and alerting functionality can be preserved.

The BigOceanData portal supports the integration of SSAS-derived vessel position information with the global AIS data set to provide enhanced tracking and management services, either for routine operations or for specific maritime security incidents.

Yes, BigOceanData has access to historical data from a number of suppliers going back to early 2015. This data can be loaded into the portal and made available directly to the client. Alternatively, BigOceanData can analyse data on behalf of clients providing specific report outputs as required. All data can be exported to PDF, Excel and other common formats.

The BigOceanData portal holds a minimum of 12 months of AIS data live, online for immediate access by its customers at any time.

Prior to AIS being deployed in 2002 it was common practice to use dedicated satellite-based tracking devices to follow ships’ movements. These devices are still widely in use today for specialist applications such as Long Range Identification and Tracking, SSAS, Fisheries Vessel Monitoring, Oilfield Security Solutions, wherever 2-way communications are required to enable cooperation between the vessel at sea and the shore-based management organisation.

BigOceanData pioneered the use of Inmarsat-C for co-operative tracking of fishing vessels in the mid-1990s. Since then, we have used Argos, Globalstar, Inmarsat-D, Iridium, Isat M2M, Orbcomm and Skywave satellite devices and GPRS and short-range radio-based technologies to track and manage vessels both near-shore and deep-sea. We are able to combine data from any of these devices with the global AIS information to provide a data-rich environment for vessel operators and port authorities.

The BigOceanData portal constantly monitors vessel movements in relation to all ports throughout the world. Data for each port is held in the BOD database and can be retrieved at the click of a mouse to provide users with:

  • Details of all ships visiting any port in the past XXX months – entry and exit times etc.
  • Details of all ships enroute to a port, with forecast expected arrival time
  • Alerts as vessels enter or leave a port

The BigOceanData portal can collect and integrate data from a large number of dedicated on-board tracking devices from satellite service providers such as Argos, Globalstar, Inmarsat-D, Iridium, Isat M2M, Orbcomm and Skywave. We also have interfaces for GPRS (mobile telephony) and short-range radio for bespoke near-shore vessel management solutions. Data from any of these devices can be mixed with the global AIS picture to provide a very detailed situational awareness for fleet operators.

The portal also provides fully interactive environmental data to aid vessel management such as forecast and current weather (including on-map wind displays), seastate/wave height, ocean currents, piracy incidents and sensitive navigation zones (Marpol, War Risk, Nav Area Warnings).

The BigOceanData portal has been designed to offer straightforward data exchange with third party systems via a comprehensive Application-programming Interface (API). This software gateway to the BigOceanData data environment allows data to be streamed directly to a clients in-house application environment. A small amount of development will be required to enable this interface which can either be undertaken by the client or by BigOceanData engineers, if required.

Since the inception of the business in the mid1990s, BOD has acted as technology enabler to a wide variety of government organisations and other businesses. We specialise in analysing a client’s specific needs and then finding cost-effective ways of integrating their data into the BigOceanData platform.

Essentially, we can provide a full range of data integration solutions ranging from a straightforward API implementation through to creating a dedicated data environment matching exactly the customer’s needs.

The very nature of the AIS system is that the basic vessel data (position, course, speed etc.) is openly available, for safety at sea purposes. This information is, therefore, in the public domain. However, any subsequent manipulation of that data by BigOceanData is undertaken in a highly-secure data environment within which individual clients’ data is held in total privacy. So, whilst BigOceanData has no influence on the privacy or security of AIS data prior to receiving it into our systems, once we have the data we protect it completely together with any subsequent manipulation of the data and any interactions with it.

If a client requires a totally private vessel management solution then the alternative is to fit dedicated tracking devices based on satellite communications for deep-sea applications or GPRS (mobile telephony) and short-range radio for near-shore requirements. In addition to offering complete privacy, these solutions provide 2-way communications enabling direct control of the vessel, if required.

Platform FAQs

The trial will be set up to include those features which are important to your business through consultation with our sales team. Please contact sales@bigoceandata.com

BigOceanData can be used on any manufacturers’ currently supported web browser e.g. IE9 and above, plus latest Safari, Chrome and Firefox

A standard account can have 1 user logons, this can be upgraded to any number you require, please contact us with your requirement sales@bigoceandata.com

Only one active session is allowed per user – if a second user logs in with the same username, it will kill the first session

You should avoid sharing usernames and passwords with other individuals

Yes A mobile device friendly version is available, please contact us

You will be able to use any mobile device to directly access the BigOceanData portal using your standard username and password @ https://mobile.bigoceandata.com

Use the Account page in the Administration section to change your details

The minimum subscription period is 12 months for all tariffs. However, for certain, bespoke applications BigOceanData is willing to offer shorter contract terms. Please contact sales@bigoceandata.com to discuss your needs – we will do our best to help

Yes – the BigOceanData platform is constantly being updated to improve functionality and overall system performance

All clients automatically benefit from these enhancements through regular maintenance upgrades to the platform.

Login to BigOceanData, locate vessel on the map, click vessel icon and then click ADD TO FLEET button

Yes please contact us but Asset Tags can also be used to categorise and group together different vessel types effectively creating separate fleets

Go to Myfleet page, within the Administration section, remove vessel.

Yes, a maximum of 10% of MyFleet can be swapped during the contract term.

A vessel can be removed in one month and replaced at a later month

Use the forgotten password link on the login page to reset your password

If you have forgotten your username, please contact support@bigoceandata.com