One great advantage of the exactAIS® service is its truly global coverage, including the remote Arctic region that had previously proved difficult to monitor. The Arctic sea ice is melting at an alarming rate, allowing for near year round shipping along the Northwest Passage. The alternatives to this Northern sea route are transport arteries half a world away that pass through the Suez and Panama Canals adding significant days to any journey. It is important to also realize though the environmental impact daily shipping will have on this fragile ecological system. The ability to monitor shipping activity throughout the vast Arctic region can help ensure that proper routes are being taken so as not to disrupt the environment.
The exactEarth service is capable of capturing binary messages from weather buoys, containing data monitoring the weather, sea state, ice state, wave direction, salinity and other relevant environmental parameters. Over time, this data can, and will, be used to create weather modeling and trending analysis studies that can be used to protect sensitive environmental areas.
In future, ships will transmit binary messages providing weather and ice conditions over the course of their voyage. Ships would need to be equipped with meteorological/hydrological sensors that are capable of measuring weather and ice data. The data could then be packaged into AIS messages for broadcast, helping other ships about to enter the area they just transited. Satellite AIS could receive these messages and provide this information to competent maritime authorities who could use the data to extend the range of weather prediction and modeling. Having accurate, real-time weather and ice information easily available will be critical as drifting ice will continue to be an issue in the Northwest Passage for years to come.