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AIS - Frequently Asked Questions

What is AIS?
AIS (Automatic Identification System) AIS, which stands for Automatic Identification System, is at its most basic level an electronic transponder installed on a boat or vessel that continuously transmits a VHF signal containing information including its name, call sign, type and position.
You can read more at Wikipedia AIS page.
What is ShipSpotting.com AIS Network?
ShipSpotting.com AIS network is a database containing real-time information on over 100 thousand ships worldwide and constantly growing.
Data come from hundreds of AIS receivers all over the world.
The network is maintained by AirNav Systems which develops AirNav ShipTrax, one of the world's biggest professional AIS networks.
What do I need to see ships in my area?
To track ships on your location you will need:
- AIS Receiver;
- AIS Antenna;
- AIS Software.
The AIS receiver gets AIS data from ships and sends it to a computer using an USB connection.
A software running on your computer decodes this data so you can track the ships on a map.
How can I share my data so it seen on ShipSpotting.com AIS network?
To share your data you will need a special software that sends data to ShipSpotting.com servers.
If you already have this software contact the ShipSpotting.com team so we can send you detailed software communication instructions (TCP-IP address and port to share data to).
This usually happens with users that already share data to other AIS networks.

If you don't have an AIS system please read below.
Type of AIS Receivers, Antennas, Software
To receive AIS data you will need an AIS receiver, an antenna and a software.
You can buy these separately from different providers or an all in one package.

Full Package: AIS receiver + Antenna + Display/Sharing Software
The only currently all-in-one solution in the market is provided by AirNav ShipTrax.
Includes:
- Dual-channel AIS Receiver (receives data simultaneously from all AIS channels);
- AIS Antenna;
- Ship Tracking Software (tracks all ships in your area, worldwide using ShipTrax network and generates logs in real-time)
- Software automatically shares data to ShipSpotting.com AIS network;
Read more about AirNav ShipTrax PRO and ShipTrax 3D

AIS receivers only:
These are receivers only meaning that you will always need to buy an antenna and an external software.
COMAR SLR200
Digital Yacht AIS
EasyAIS
MarineGadget Radar
NASA AIS
Smart Radio SR161/SR162

Antennas only:
DPD Productions Marine AIS Antenna
Shakespeare AIS Antenna

Software only:
The most popular standalone AIS software is ShipPlotter
I have more questions
Contact the ShipSpotting.com team and we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

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