How it Works
Ships transmit their location through an Automatic Identification System (AIS) using their callsigns as identifiers. Two receiving antennae have been set up on land stations in line-of-sight with Dublin Bay and Dublin Port. The information gathered by the antennae is exchanged in real time with an online database (Marinetraffic.com) which parses the information and gives us the names of the vessels. This information is processed via the internet and output to the screens in public space.
Marinetraffic.com is “part of an open, community-based project with antenna base stations around the world. It is dedicated to collecting and presenting data which is exploited in research areas” and it provides free real-time information to the public about ship movements and ports across the coast-lines of many countries around the world.
Anybody with a PC and an always-on internet connection can set up a base station and can receive and exchange data with an AIS service. If you would like to know more about setting up your own receiving station see the information here. Low cost Marine USB Receivers are available and instructions for set up are here.