Processing architecture

We start with raw AIS data. This data contains both positional and indentity information for vessels. However, as it is voluntarily transmitted by the vessels, information might both be missing and incorrect.

Vessel identification

We try to match the MMSI (station identity in AIS) with vessel identities in fishing registries. When that fails, we manually classify vessel and gear type information based on online sources as well as ship tracks. This information is used to train a neural net model to predict vessel and gear type from movement patterns. We maintain lists of known fishing vessels and likely fishing vessels.

Fishing estimation

Given the vessel and gear type from the step above, and the shape of the track, we estimate where fishing is happening using a regression model trained on a hand-labeled dataset of tracks.


We visualize the tracks with their fishing detections by generating a tileset - a pyramid of temporal and spatial tiles, each containing individual events, or cluster points representing multiple events (when you zoom out). This tileset is then rendered by a WebGL-based web client as both a heatmap and as individual tracks.

Architecture overview image