Use of ship traffic density from Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) in marine spatial planning: a case study in New England coast, USA

Yong Hoon Kim*, Eoin Howlett*, Jin Hwan Hwang**, Young Gyu Park***
Author Information & Copyright
*Oceanography Division, RPS ASA, South Kingstown, RI, USA
**Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
***Ocean Circulation and Climate Research Division, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Ansan, Korea. Corresponding Author,

© Copyright 2021 Korea Maritime Institute. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jun 30, 2014


Analyzing current and anticipated uses of ocean and coastal areas based on scientific understanding and information is quite critical to achieve a successful Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). One of key elements in ocean and coastal use is navigation and thus vessel traffic density should be included as part of MSP. One of emerging techniques to quantify ship traffic density is to analyze Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data for a designated area. This study presents a case study conducted in New England area, USA, where the ship traffic density was estimated by analyzing AIS/VMS data. The results of ship traffic density were used in MSP (e.g., Northeast Ocean Data Portal), which were later used by one of stake holders, U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management when they issued wind lease blocks in outer continental shelf off Massachusetts.

Keywords: ship traffic density; ocean planning; environmental assessment; decision making