Vessel Traffic Modeling

It is paramount to base vessel noise mitigation on complete, accurate and timely information about the traffic. While Maritime Domain Awareness significantly improved, many gaps remain.  Vessel monitoring systems are composed of a mixture of tracking systems such as radio call-ins, shore-based radar, Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) and shore-based Automated Identification Systems (AIS). These systems tend to be concentrated around major ports, do not extend far from shore, or provide vessel information with low resolution spatially and/or temporally. Since AIS became mandatory for ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards and some smaller vessels, technology has been under development to capture these AIS signals via satellite (S-AIS). S-AIS provides high resolution and extensive vessel monitoring covering most of the world’s oceans. Our project partner, exactEarth is a world leader in collecting and processing S-AIS data.  

We propose to improve the maritime picture by: (a) incorporating many sources of traffic data; and (b) performing advanced data cleaning and data mining to elicit the maximum possible reliable information from available datasets. We will calculate vessel use patterns using AIS, S-AIS, MCTS INNAV (Information System on Marine Navigation) and LRIT (Long-Range Identification and Tracking) data that will provide a fairly complete picture of vessel traffic. A shore-based AIS station will be installed in Sachs Harbour. We will also rely on NASP (National Air Surveillance Program) planes to acquire orthophotos, AIS snapshots and side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) over the Salish Sea from which small vessel distribution and density at various temporal resolutions will be derived.

Reseach Team

  • Rosaline Canessa, University of Victoria
  • Stan Matwin, Dalhousie University
  • Rodolphe Devillers, Memorial University


  • exactEarth
  • Transport Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada