AIS Big Data Hackathon



The automatic identification system (AIS) is a tracking system for ships, originally developed for collision avoidance. The data is automatically transmitted every few seconds over very high frequency (VHF) radios from approximately 100,000 vessels worldwide. Allowing for real-time geo-tracking and identification for equipped vessels, the AIS data promises to map and describe certain marine human activities. AIS data provides a big data source of unrivaled quality above and beyond its original application for collision avoidance.

The number of possible applications for this data is enormous, and we believe that it could also be used to support official statistics in monitoring the social and economic impact of COVID-19 and to assist the world in its fight against climate change. To quickly utilize the data to its full potential, we need a surge of creative researchers to come up with equally creative ways to use it!

For this reason, the United Nations Statistics Division, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and UN Global Pulse are jointly, in collaboration with MarineTraffic and consultation with AIS Task Team members, organizing a remote participation Hackathon from 3-6 September — right after the Conference on Big Data for Official Statistics and the winning team will get the chance to present their work at the UN World Data Forum in Bern, Switzerland. So, if you have an idea (and we also recommend a team, preferably interdisciplinary), please use this form to send us an abstract (200 – 400 words) introducing yourself/your team and your idea.

More information about the Hackathon can be found in the concept note for the event. For more information on AIS data, here is a list of case studies.