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Current ship positions around Samothrace over AIS (automatic identification system)

It began, when from time to time I met tourists at the harbour, who were waiting nervously for their ship. The sentence in my timetables "Timetables are subject to change, I don't vouch for them. Because of different reasons schedules can be cancelled at any time." is realized very differently, if you are affected. Especially the ferry to Kavala could be delayed enormously. Upon request, there was false or no information at all, because nobody knew, when exactly the ship would arrive or where it was actually. With "nobody" I am talking about the shipping offices and the harbour police. And asking again after some hours could possibly turn responsibles impolite. Certainly, it is annoying to wait for a delayed ferry, but it is even worse, not not knowing the time and when it will arrive.

Luckily, there is the internet and from 2008 the (Universal) Automatic (ship)Identification System is mandatory for greater ships. You want to know, where the ferry to Samothrace or Alexandroupolis is currently located? I offer two maps for you. Both maps display the current position of the ships around Samothrace. The ships' positions on the map is actually the current location. At the shipping office you can now ask, where the ferry currently is, and it would be possible to give you that information, because they all have internet access. If the offices' owners are smart, the will install a monitor at the window, displaying the current ship positions. Then AIS and the connection to it will make even more sense. Especially for this, I programmed a site with a full screen view option.

Unfortunately, currently not at the harbour police on Samothrace, because they don't have internet.

And sadly, the AIS bases on regular VHF (very high frequency, ultrashort wave). That means, that the range of the sender of the SAOS II is currently limited to 35 km (equals to 21.7 miles or 19 sea miles). The ship appears on the map, when it reaches Samothrace at 35 km or freezes after 35 km, when it is headed to Alexadroupolis. You can recognize this very easily on the Jakota map. By pointing the ship with the mouse, more information pops up. The time information should not be older than 2 minutes. A remedy for the receipt gap is surely given by an additional receipt station at Alexandroupolis, but this is out of my reach. Next thing, I will try to replace the 45 inch antenna by a 106 inch antenna, which has a bigger range.

Why 2 maps? During tests I observed, that data from the map by MarineTraffic.com sometimes is cut out and/or displayed with time delay. After investiging, I found out that the AIS receiver which is run by a shipping office in Kamariotissa, is operating only during ticket sale. Therefore, I installed an AIS receiver on my own on Samothrace, which sends the receipt data permanently to the internet. To get rid of the time delay by MarineTraffic, I was looking for another provider. My data is received and processed by the German Jakota company, which guarantees, that the informatin about the ships' locations is actually displayed in realtime. With the special Jakota software a map was created fitting much better to your requirements. With it you can measure the exact distance of a ship to Kamariotissa.

Map 1, especially for Samothrace by Jakota

Map 1, especially for Samothrace by Jakota (fullscreen)

Map 2 by Marinetraffic.com

To enable Marinetraffic.com to also benefit from my AIS station, Jakota sends my received data additonally to MarineTraffic.com. Unfortunately, there is no respective action from MarineTraffic. Thus, more AIS stations are available on the MarineTraffic map for a receipt from all over Greece. If you are interested in the traffic all over Greece, the map of MarineTraffic will be the better one, despit the time delays. For the traffic around Samothrace I recommend the usage of the Jakota map.


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