AIS Data

Task Team of the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics


The Task Team in AIS data analyses the usage of data coming from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) which is a signaling (sensor) system of vessels to share various information about ships' location, speed, and status and other relevant information. The team aims to develop algorithms and methodologies for measuring freight transportation, traffic within harbours, economic trade indicators, CO2 emission, the amount of fishery and other experimental indicators fit-for-purpose; and to conduct training for using AIS data in these domains. The team uses the UN Global Platform for global collaboration on projects involving AIS data.


The AIS Task Team will develop algorithms and methodologies; and conduct trainings - taking into account existing initiatives in this area - for using AIS data to create official statistics and/or develop experimental data fit-for-purpose, making use AIS data in various areas such as freight, traffic within harbours, economic trade indicators, CO2 emission, fishery.

The Task Team will support the promotion of the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics and the United Nations Global Platform (UNGP) for Official Statistics by participating in programmes and events; for example the UN World Data Forum, The UN Big Data Conference and the ISI World Statistics Congress.

The AIS Task Team will use the Global Platform for the global collaboration on developing, and publishing of the algorithms, methods and training.


  1. Methodology, standards, guidance, e-learning courses

    The Task Team is going to provide algorithms and methodologies for the analysis of AIS data. The methodology and standards are going to be captured in a handbook in form of a Wiki and it has been released in February 2020. In addition, we plan to transform the handbook into e-learning courses in 2020. The Task Team also identifies (and procures) relevant datasets to be linked with AIS data to increase analytical values.

  2. Projects

    Ongoing projects of the task team will include the linkage of the AIS data with other data sources, such as global ship registers or customs/postal data. Other projects undertaken by the members are as follows: calculating weekly port calls data and updating the dashboard. Nowcasting volume of trade. Optimization of supply chains. Measuring emissions from ships. Port efficiency: how fast get ships out of the ports. Estimation of cargo, crew and passengers on board. Analyzing disruption to cruise ships tourism. Measuring slavery on the sea.

  3. Workshops and other capacity building events

    In 2020, we plan to conduct the following: AIS Data Week (March 2020), side-event on AIS data at Global Conference on Big Data for Official Statistics and AIS Hackathon (September 2020). Continuous technical support on how to use AIS is done through Slack.

  4. Outreach and awareness raising

    In 2020, we plan to regularly share activities in UNGP and UNCTAD newsletters; update the website of the Task Team. The AIS would be highlighted in the forthcoming UNCTAD publication of Report on Maritime Transport. The organization of Hackathon and contribution to Big Data Conference and UN World Data Forum would be part of outreach activities

Task Team members


  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Statistics Denmark
  • INE Dominican Republic
  • Hellenic Statistical Authority - Greece
  • Statistics Indonesia
  • CSO Ireland
  • Statistics Netherlands
  • Statistics New Zealand
  • Statistics Poland
  • UK Office for National Statistics (ONS)

International Organizations

  • IMF
  • IMO
  • UN Global Pulse
  • UNSD


  • Autoridad Maritima de Panama
  • DFID Data Science Hub
  • Maldives Monetary Authority
  • MarineTraffic
  • The Turing Institute
  • UK Department For Transport
  • (Environmental Change Institute) University of Oxford