Steering Committee

Using Vessel Tracking Data to Prioritize Bathymetric Surveying in a Rapidly Changing Arctic

AIS PAC Steering Committee

AOOS staff lead an AIS PAC Project steering committee set up to provide feedback on content for a communications and outreach strategy and the project data portal/website. The steering committee members also suggest and help coordinate other customer end-users who may be interested in the data and products produced during this project.

On March 9, 2018, the stakeholder steering committee convened a webinar meeting to learn more about this project, help guide the project scope, and advise on content of tools and products that will come out of this effort.  As the project moves into the final stages of data product development, including what to include in the AIS PAC Data Portal, the committee will also provide input to the tools and product functionality prior to final delivery.

Steering Committee Members:

  • Dr. Jon Berkson (U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Head Quarters ; ADAC Project Champion)
  • Lt. Bart Buesseler (NOAA Alaska Region, Navigation Manager)
  • Patrick Keown (Geospatial Data Manager Coast Survey Development Lab (CSDL), Office of Coast Survey (OCS), NOAA)
  • Paul Webb (USCG, CIV, District 17 – Juneau, AK)
  • Dr. Guillermo Auad (Senior Advisor and Ocean Coordinator, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)
  • Randy “Church” Kee (Major General, U.S. Air Force (Retired), Executive Director ADAC)

Stakeholder Participants:

  • Lt. Matt Forney, OMAO/DOD/Interagency Liaison, OCS, NOAA
  • Leland Sneider, NOAA Geographer
  • Frank Parker, USCG Office of Nav. Systems
  • John Hauman, NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)
  • Christina Fandel, Office of Coast Survey (OCS), NOAA

Core Stakeholders, Interests and Feedback


  • AIS data formatted for input to the NOAA Hydro Health Model is used to prioritize where modern bathymetric surveys are needed.
  • Standard formatted and edited AIS data for NOAA Chart Geographers will be useful to evaluate current charts and shipping.
  • Satellite historic AIS data have been used for Arctic bathymetric maps for areas that have not been surveyed in decades, with goal to identify land/water separation with satellite data, then using the AIS data overlays.
  • CSV file outputs are useful, as the end-user can use private programs to process data however wanted.
  • Just having the data cleaned up, and having AXIOM do the crunching and making data available in consistent formatting is a huge help.

U.S. Coast Guard:

  • Every year, new district commanders need to come up to speed quickly for the region on the maritime situation using this information. This information will help inform new commands.
  • USCG will use these data and products for regional planning.
  • This information will help to reduce risks in maritime operations.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM):

  • BOEM has an interest in any biological, chemical and physical information for seafloor characterization.
  • Biological: habitat characterization
  • Chemical: information on oil seeps location
  • Physical: depth and seafloor type, e.g., rocky. (relevant to navigation safety, especially of industry vessels).
  • AIS data will also be useful to help explore potential ocean noise corridors and risk of marine mammal strikes with increased shipping and oil exploration.

Feedback from the Steering Committee – 09 March 2018 Webinar

One significant outcome is being able to process these large data sets and make them available for use in a consistent and useable format.

  • All different AIS data sources have inconsistent data formats and are riddled with errors.
  • End-users are on their own at the moment, and have to perform substantial pre-processing to get data into consistent and useable structures, which takes a very long time.
  • This project is providing the capability to simply download data that are well documented (including any QC performed on the data) and consistently formatted in addition to having a set of uniform tools to handle the data, e.g.,  plotting or data transfer, and is providing a beneficial service to the overall AIS data user community.
  • Having data that are vetted and corrected to contain more complete records, as the 5-year record of Marine Exchange data on this project, is providing more information (e.g., data needed to compute under-keel depth) than un-vetted data sets (e.g., the Marine Cadastre data only has 20-30% information required for computing under-keel depth).

Other sources of AIS data displayed on the AIS Projects website have only had minor automated QC applied, and therefore, contain errors not identified by the automated processes.

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