Mapping the density of ship routes using Big Data

MarineTraffic launched its new Density Maps. The aggregation of billions of data points from 2017, and the refactoring of previous year’s data, this is an update on two fronts, resulting in the most comprehensive multi-layered map visualisation of global shipping activity yet.

MarineTraffic users will now be able to better identify key trading routes from the patterns detailed in these new maps and, in tandem, will be able to draw conclusions from the millions of voyages made throughout a year.

The new Density Map format created from vessel trajectories instead of positions, allows vessel tracking even in the most difficult of places, where AIS coverage is not as strong. The ‘cool’ coloured lines signify that a route has not been taken often, the ‘warm’ coloured lines signify where routes are often utilised. The result of that procedure is a global dataset of ship tracking density.

MarineTraffic density maps
MarineTraffic Density Maps 2017 (left) and 2016 (right) – a significant update

The new Density Maps leverage the power of Big Data, making use of the vast amounts of AIS data collected and processed by MarineTraffic each year. The maps allow users to perform top-level analysis of shipping patterns and trends on a global scale, and in line with our 2018 mission, access to more information through MarineTraffic.

Stay tuned for more details and tutorials, on how to use MarineTraffic map services and for decision making in the maritime industry.


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