MARQUETTE, Mich (WZMQ) – The vessels that port these harbors in the Upper Peninsula and in the rest of the Great Lakes rely a lot on communication with one another. AIS is the automatic identification system used by ship captains and receiving stations to keep people informed about the vessels location and other data relating the watercraft.
The Marine Traffic website takes this information even further than just bobbing above water. “You kinda wonder, where is it headed or how long would it be before it turns to Marquette a site like Marine Traffic gives you that information”, said Eric Smith. Smith is the LTE Broadband Coordinatory for NMU, and he’s also a Great Lakes enthusiast who knows the importance of these ports and transmissions.
“The maritime industry is critically important to the upper peninsula. When we think about our economy and all the things that keep us employed, that are part of the life that we have here in the U.P. the lakes and the boats are certainly a part of that.”, said Smith.
Northern Michigan University has now added an AIS receiving station on Mt Mesnard here in Marquette. All larger commercial vessels are required to transmit AIS, and signaling of their position to the recieving station.
The receiver at NMU picks up these AIS signals and publishes them to several Internet sites, starting with Marine Traffic. Here, you can view what boats are coming into port, how many knots they’re moving at and pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to vessel information.
“In the event of an emergency, it can be very helpful to be able to quickly establish the information you need, click on it, and then share that with someone that needs to know.”, said Smith.