USCG Development, Test and Evaluation of AIS Binary Messages for Enhanced VTS Operations


Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an autonomous and continuous communications system that exchanges maritime safety/security information between participating vessels and shore stations. In addition to providing a means for maritime administrations to effectively track the movement of vessels in coastal waters, AIS can also be a means to transmit information to ships inport or underway that contributes to safety-ofnavigation and protection of the environment. This paper discusses the development, test, and evaluation being carried out by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to examine the use of AIS Binary Messages for Enhanced Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Operations. The AIS provides the mariner with two very import autonomous capabilities: 1) a collision avoidance tool providing other ship information and location and 2) a navigation tool providing important safety and security information. This effort focuses on the latter capability. The main approach to developing an AIS transmit capability was to perform a Requirements Study to determine the needs of the key stakeholders involved with this effort: • information providers, • VTS operators, • mariners and • shipboard system display manufacturers. The effort also includes government and industry working closely together through the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) to develop standards to transmit the binary messages. Finally, a test bed has been developed and implemented to provide the means to test and evaluate standards, operational requirements, and whether the system offers improvements to safety and efficiency of navigation within VTS areas.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Technical Meeting of The Institute of Navigation

Conference Date

Jan 26 - Jan 28, 2009

Publisher Place

Anaheim, CA, USA

Document Type

Conference Proceeding