|Note the location of North Sea oil/gas platforms|
|Note the loop to the north west of Shetland|
|Lots of activity off the east coast of England|
|Quite a bit of traffic to offshore wind farms, perhaps|
|Lots on the south coast, but also in The Minch|
|Kind of as you’d expect, but also quite striking|
|Hmm, quite a lot of cargo|
|There are also quite a few tankers|
|I really find the fishing vessels map fasinating|
|Quite a lot of traffic between England and France|
|Clearly a lot of non-port service craft from Aberdeen|
|Also a good bit of non-port service traffic around Shetland|
|Some port service traffic patterns for Scotland and England|
|Port service traffic is quite busy in the English Channel|
|Some dredging/underwater activity in the north of Scotland|
|Note the back and forth patterns off the south west coast|
|High speed traffic in the Irish Sea area|
|High speed traffic – to offshore wind farms?|
|A good bit of military and law enforcement traffic here|
|Lots of passenger traffic here, as you’d expect|
|Quite stylish routes I reckon|
|All hail Caledonian MacBrayne! (and NorthLink, obvs)|
|England to France: take your pick|
|There is cargo in UK waters, didn’t you know?|
|There is cargo in the Irish Sea too – it’s everywhere!|
|You want tankers? We got tankers|
|Fishing in The Minch, and notice the ship tracks down Loch Ness|
|Note the tracks of the ships compared to the bathymetry|
|Lots of fish to be caught here|
|Some nice recreational sailing off the west coast of Scotland|
Like I said at the start, this is just a bit of summer map fun with an different kind of dataset. I think it’s quite interesting and when you map it in QGIS and add a bit of styling plus terrain and bathymetry data you have some shiny maps. The full resolution images are the ones to download if you really want to see things in detail. There’s also a zipped folder with all the images if you want to download them all in one go.
What does AIS stand for? Automatic Identification System.
|This is all marine traffic, on the live web map|
Why did you add the bathymetry layer? I wanted to see if it in any way explained any of the traffic patterns, particularly for fishing, and I think it does. Look closely at some of the maps to see what I mean.
Why did you make these maps? Because I like making maps and find this data interesting.
Can I use these maps? Yes, feel free.
Why did you not include any maps with place name labels? I wanted to keep them super simple. Plus it is of course great fun trying to figure out what’s what.
The AIS dataset for the full year is pretty big, more than 3 million records, and it’s a little unwieldy. But it is also very rich, with data on the start and end time and date for each track, ship length, ship width, ship draught, plus lots of other time and date variables and of course the vessel type. There is an ‘unknown’ vessel category but I didn’t map that here.