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I recently began feeding AIS data into the MarineTraffic.com network, which prompts me to write about it here.

The use of the website is free (or can be subscribed for more features) and has a variety of features I will describe here.

Go to the website here.  Use the tools to zoom into a desired location.  Choices of types of display (Map, Satellite, Simple), and the Google Earth navigation tools are displayed.  The green boxes show the number of vessels that are actively being reported by AIS stations.

Navigating to my area gives this display:  The vessels in the area are shown by the green symbols.

The display can be modified using available settings.  Click on the ">" in the upper left hand corner to see available options.  Clicking on a lower button "More" allows further selections.

Now placing the cursor over the station gives a pop-up identifying it.

The port of Davao is shown.

And light characteristics

Select the 'Map' view by clicking on the button

Then checking the 'Terrain' box ..

...gives this view.

The 'Simple' view:

Returning to the "Map options", selection of wind arrows is possible from 'Now' up to '24 hours'

With the resulting display.  Placing the cursor at any location gives the wind information at that point.

Zooming in to my area the vessel information will pop up when the cursor is placed over it's symbol.  Note also that the weather direction and speed (10 kts) are shown here.  This is a finer interpolation than normally observed in other GRIB programs.

When a vessel is displayed underway it's track can be displayed.  Here the vessel TROPICAL SKY is underway and it's projected course fo the next 30 minutes was checked as shown previously.  Hovering the cursor over the vessel symbol shows it name, SOG and COG.

Left clicking on the symbol displays information, often including a photo, of the vessel characteristics (the information concerning the status, destination and ETA are entered by the crew and aren't always correct!)  This applies to all of the vessels on the display.  Clicking on the line 'Show Vessel's Track' ......

......  gives the track display.