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Short Citation:
Office for Coastal Management, 2024: AIS Vessel Tracks 2021,

Item Identification

Title: AIS Vessel Tracks 2021
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2022-04-29

A vessel track shows the location and characteristics of commercial and recreational boats as a sequence of positions transmitted by an Automatic Identification System (AIS). AIS signals are susceptible to interference and this can result in a gap within a vessel track. The distribution, type, and frequency of vessel tracks are a useful aid to understanding the risk of conflicting uses within a certain geographic area. The vessel track positions in this data set are collected and recorded from land-based antennas as part of a national network operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.


To support ocean planning activities pursuant to the Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States, the Energy Policy Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Supplemental Information:

Bureau Code: 006:48, Program Code: 006:055


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category
None coastal
None planning
None renewable energy

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Exclusive Economic Zone
None Outer Continental Shelf
None Territorial Sea
None United States of America

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Data Set Type: Geodatabase
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Data Presentation Form: Map (digital)
Entity Attribute Overview:

OBJECTID, MMSI, TrackStartTime, TrackEndTime, VesselType, Length, Width, Draft, DurationMinutes, VesselGroup

Distribution Liability:

Data Set Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Support Roles

Point of Contact

CC ID: 1168377
Date Effective From: 2022-04-29
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202


Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 1168389
W° Bound: -168
E° Bound: -60
N° Bound: 50
S° Bound: 15

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 1168388
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 2021-01-01
End: 2021-12-31

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Grid: No
Vector: Yes
Text / Table: No
Stereo Model: No
Video: No

Vector Representation 1

CC ID: 1168383
Topology Level: Geometry Only
Complex Object Present?: No
Composite Object Present?: No
Curve Object Present?: Yes
Point Object Present?: No
Solid Object Present?: No
Surface Object Present?: No

Reference Systems

Reference System 1

CC ID: 1168384

Coordinate Reference System

CRS Type: Geographic 2D
EPSG Code: EPSG:4269
EPSG Name: NAD83
See Full Coordinate Reference System Information

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Use Constraints:

For coastal and ocean planning

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 1168378
Download URL:
Description: Data Registry

Distribution 2

CC ID: 1168379
Download URL:

Technical Environment


Microsoft Windows, ArcGIS Pro

Data Quality

Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

Compiled to meet 10 meters horizontal accuracy at 95% confidence level

Completeness Report:

a) The geographic extent of these data include the conterminous United States, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

b) Presence, absence, and contiguity of a track is dependent on the distance and temporal filters applied in the track building algorithm. Parameters for these data were 1 nautical mile and 30 minutes.

Conceptual Consistency:

These data are logically consistent



U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center

CC ID: 1168385
Publish Date: 2022-01-01
Source Contribution:

Daily compressed log files containing original AIS messages in NMEA format for the months of January through December for the United States

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 1168386

1. Filter the raw NMEA data to a one-minute sample rate and select a subset of fields using NMEA to SQL Server processing tools

2. Load filtered records to an SQL Server 2021 database using NMEA to SQL Server processing tools

3. Conduct quality and completeness check using logging results from the filter and loading process

4. Update the IMO, CallSign, VesselName, Length, Width, VesselType, and Draft from United States Coast Guard AVIS where original AIS values are missing

5. Add a new vessel type code to each record fragment that originated from the United States Coast Guard AVIS

6. Develop track line features directly from the SQL Server database using a customize version of the Track Builder 3.1 (64-bit version) for each month of broadcast records and for each ocean basin, using a filter setting of 30 minutes and 1 mile

7. Added field for vessel type group and populated based on the vessel type code to vessel group mapping described in attribute metadata

8. Added field for track line duration, and calculated the time in minutes between the start and end time for each track feature

9. Performed visual quality and consistency checks, and removed vessel tracks that were clearly invalid (on land) or beyond the ocean basin

10. REPAIR GEOMETRY to remove features with null geometry

Process Date/Time: 2022-03-01 00:00:00

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 67049
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:67049
Metadata Record Created By: Jesse Brass
Metadata Record Created: 2022-04-20 13:38+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-05-30 18:10+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2022-04-29
Owner Org: OCM
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2022-04-29
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2023-04-29