The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will be deciding whether to allocate specific channels for satellite detection of AIS. The decision is scheduled during the next world radio conference (WRC) in January/February of 2012. Early speculation leads me to believe that the ITU will approve these channels so I’ve started pondering the implications. Once approved, Satellite AIS will enter a new phase in the political arena where it will be recognized as a technology that is positioned to support future developments such as inclusion in the next generation GMDSS (global maritime distress and safety system), small vessel tracking, and possibly even inclusion into the IMO LRIT system for vessel tracking.
Here at exactEarth, we will be well positioned to support these new channels as our satellites are tunable across the maritime band and will be well equipped to monitor these new channels. In addition, our superior detection capability on the existing AIS channels can be used to cross check and validate compliance on the new channels.
UPDATE: As of February 14, ITU has approved the new satellite channels announcing Class A will be on them and a decision pending on Class B reception as well.