Mobile MDA

Smartphone apps enable vessel identification and tracking

39ab3435cacf1a08e9825cb605dc66ac

In the digital age, maritime domain awareness (MDA) can be gained not only with satellites, but also with smartphones. Whether you’re a commercial enterprise or seafaring tourist, mobile apps can deliver improved situational awareness at sea via valuable maritime capabilities, including:

Vessel tracking: Using real-time AIS signals, apps such as MarineTraffic, Ship Finder, Boat Watch, and VesselFinder allow users to track ships on a map from their mobile device. Several, including “pro” versions of Boat Watch and Ship Finder, offer augmented reality features, allowing users to identify vessels—learning their name, type, and destination—by viewing them through their phone’s camera.

Citizen reporting: Apps such as ShipWatch are designed to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing by allowing fishermen to report questionable activity to authorities. All a user has to do is take a picture, tag it, and upload it to a central map. A similar tool, called Fish DB, allows fishermen to report illegal fishing activity via SMS text message, in case they lack an Internet connection.

Photo Credit: MarineTraffic

Return to feature story: Watching the Water

25 Years of Showing the Way

NGA Director VADM Robert Sharp reflects on the 25-year history of the agency and the 'Moonshot' operational effort to face a future as challenging as our nation's first journey to the moon

A Growing Field

Commercial GEOINT continues to make impressive strides, propelled by myriad factors: market competition, agile development processes, and unprecedented technological advances

, ,

2020 USGIF Scholarship Award Winners

The 2020 scholarship winners demonstrate the multidisciplinary nature of the field of GEOINT