Four ways to use AIS to inform decision making

26 March 2021

The importance of AIS data and four ways it can be used alongside other data sources to better aid decision making.

Four ways to use AIS to inform decision making

AIS data is widely used across the shipping industry as a tool to locate and identify vessels. AIS (automatic identification system) was originally designed for anti-collision around and outside of ports. With AIS, vessels continuously send messages regarding where they are, where they’re heading, their speed and more.

AIS data on its own isn’t particularly useful, however, when this data is combined with other sources of data, its value really comes to life. The development and adoption of technologies across shipping is fast paced, however the question lies with how this data is being used and what can we do to truly harness its potential?

We sat down with Richard White, Chief Technology Officer at Sea/, to discuss how important AIS data is and four ways it can be used alongside other data sources to better aid decision making.

  1. Understand what the market looks like with AIS data

    Vessel tracking tools like Sea/net visualise AIS data and allow shipping professionals to filter down to only view the vessels they are interested in. In addition, they can understand where vessels are heading to, whether they have cargo on board, and they can utilise their speed to determine the estimated time of arrival and when the vessel will next be available. Vessel tracking tools with weather functionality allows you to understand upcoming weather patterns and anticipate market changes and disruptions.

  1. Commodity flows with AIS data

    When AIS data is combined with commodity and berth data further analysis can be done on a country, port or even berth level. The data signals to shipping professionals whether vessels are loading /unloading and what commodity is being exported /imported and possibly where the supply chain is continuing.

  1. Vessel utilisation and alerts with AIS data

    When AIS data is utilised correctly shipping professionals can anticipate upcoming changes with along the journey and create alerts on particular vessels.  Anticipating upcoming port delays will allow vessels to slow down or reroute leading to reduced emissions and lower costs.

  1. Cleaner decisions with green shipping

    Increasingly, shipping professionals are looking to make cleaner shipping decisions to reduce their carbon footprint. AIS allows shipping professionals to calculate the predicted emissions of each voyage based on various criteria such as speed, whether it’s laden, ballast, in port, waiting or at sea, the weight of the cargo, the fuel its burning and more. Emissions are becoming a key part of the decision-making process for shipping professionals and AIS data allows you to consider whether a decision such as increasing speed to meet demand is really the best decision.


At Sea/, AIS is more than just dots on a screen. We combine AIS data to create meaningful outcomes that can form a toolkit for business-critical decision making. To find out more about what makes our modules so powerful arrange for a demo now.

To continue learning about how the maritime industry can move from being data rich to data smart watch our webinar here.


Four ways to use AIS data to inform decision making