Tracking Data to Predict Maritime Movement

Collaboration with the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory.

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Track, analyse and predict ship behaviours to detect potential illegal activities.

With more than 80% of the world’s goods being transported by sea, a secure maritime environment is essential for the free flow of global trade. But, with illegal maritime activities and piracy on the increase, Dstl was keen to develop a system to improve tracking of ship behaviours and detect inconsistent, misrepresented – and potentially illegal – activities.

The VEC needed to create a system architecture which gathered and processed a combination of AIS (Automatic Identification System) and ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) data from global maritime surveillance. AIS is used to automatically send identification information and is often used to track ships or to coordinate their movement to avoid conflicts. These systems are mandated by the International Maritime Organization for any qualifying ship.

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Our support meant DSTL could

  • Add value to data analysts in carrying out their daily tasks
  • Allow automatic ship tracking
  • Identify potential illegal activities
  • Gain greater insight
  • Improved detection rates and confidence levels

Client opinion

"Working with the Virtual Engineering Centre on this project has been invaluable in helping us to enhance the UK MOD’s and wider Government’s analytical capability across the globe. It has helped The National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC) to collect key real-time information to monitor activities in UK and worldwide waters, to ensure safety for all. We are now looking at working with the VEC to further develop the system."

Alasdair Hunter,
Senior Mathematician

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