AIS and COVID-19: OCHA report

AIS and COVID-19: ship traffic data valuable for epidemic modeling

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Industry around the world is coming together in the face of a common threat: COVID-19.  But what is the relevance between COVID-19 and AIS? As a military and defense contractor, Shine Micro understands that an essential element of combat is to identify enemy attack vectors.  A recent article published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs highlights how Automatic Identification System (AIS) data is valuable to epidemic disease modeling:


The current standard for calculating disease import risk at the international level is epidemic modelling that uses flight network data on commercial airline routes and capacity. However, vessels can also be global carriers for infected people and disease vectors.


We sought to understand how AIS traffic data can inform epidemic modelling using two case studies. The first looked at the plague outbreak that hit Madagascar in 2017, affecting an estimated 2,348 individuals and resulting in 202 deaths. The second study analysed the current pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Our methodology consisted of gathering information from ports and ships and constructing an origin-destination matrix.


We learned that we can use AIS data to visualize individual ship trajectories to understand, for example, whether ships came to shore in cities with high risk of infections, and to account for their arrival times in future ports in near real-time. The study also showed that there is a widespread reach of ships travelling between islands, in our case with vessels reaching three or more continents within a one month period.

This type of information could be useful in complementing insights from flight data, especially when modelling the spread of diseases in port cities and island nations.

By Felicia Vacarelu, Communications Specialist, UN Global Pulse. Study by Katherine Hoffmann Pham and Miguel Luengo-Oroz

Read the complete article and download the report here.

Better Data drives Better Decisions. Shine Micro: Receive Better.

Stephanie Nevarez
Marketing Manager
Shine Micro, Inc.
360-437-2503 phone
360-437-2483 fax

United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

With its partners, OCHA contributes to principled and effective humanitarian response through coordination, advocacy, policy, information management and humanitarian financing tools and services.

Weather over AIS - Shine Micro, Inc.

Shine Micro is the pioneer of high-sensitivity AIS receivers for long-range, real-time, persistent monitoring and vessel tracking.  From the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) to the invention and patent of Class B AIS transmission protocol (CSTDMA), Shine Micro specializes in innovation and optimization of AIS, including VHF technology for Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) monitoring and Small Vessel Tracking (SVT).