Big data is a big deal for the maritime shipping industry. Until very recently, maritime insights and analytics had to be gathered in bits and pieces, and that data at best was in bits and pieces. Satellite technology has made a huge splash in the way we collect and analyze data in every industry. The key to understanding the importance of big data has to do with analytics. Big data is normal, everyday data collected in vast quantities and analyzed in ways that previously would have taken more resources than it was worth. Technology has managed to compress data and expand storage capabilities to allow for big data analysis to be realized in minutes instead of hours, days, months, or years.
An example of data as it was previously understood is tracking a fleet’s routes through the month of November in the Atlantic Ocean. An example of big data is tracking the route of every single ship in a fleet worldwide in the month of November, how much fuel they used, what they were carrying, the weight of what they were carrying, the currents they faced, weather systems involved, and the number of ships nearby. In the past, data of this amount would take a painful amount of time to collect and study.
In addition to traditional means of data collection – radar, satellite imaging, AIS, documented reports, etc. – exactEarth’s Satellite AIS technology will allow vessels to be tracked in real time, no matter where they are including remote and under-developed areas where it was previously impossible to track location signals.
Big data for the maritime industry means transparency, and transparency improves accountability both to authorities and the environment, stronger safety precautions and rescue resources, and industry efficiency.
Boosted by real-time information, big data enhances security by providing information to authorities to provide alerts and to ships themselves if a change in route is required either to avoid unknown or off-route vessels or sudden dangerous weather systems. Additionally authorities are better able to trace distress calls and rescue teams, as well as identify nearby vessels that are in position to respond faster than a rescue team.
Accountability plays a huge part in helping the maritime industry adhere to the demands of the European Council and United Nations to reduce carbon emissions. Big data allows the soon-to-be mandatory fuel reporting to be completed quickly and easily. The transparency that big data provides also allows authorities to track illegal dumping and the misuse of Marine Protected Areas.
Big data allows maritime shipping companies to increase the amount of data on hand that can be used to identify fuel- and time-efficient routes in addition to fuel-consumption. Historical information can be compared to real-time data to plan the safest and most reliable routes, to quickly provide updated information to port authorities, and to schedule unloading freight with highly accurate timelines.
Big data transparency is a great resource in sustaining maritime industry in all sectors and the positive influence on shipping insights and efficiencies has only just begun.