Online Vessel Tracking System
The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has developed an online vessel tracking system to display real-time vessel data as well as schedule information at FerryAlaska.com and on the Alaska 511 traveler information system. These tools provide ferry travelers who often have to travel long distances, brave adverse weather conditions, and leave their homes at odd hours to meet vessels the ability to view real-time arrival and departure information and avoid an extended wait at a ferry terminal.
The online vessel tracking system receives data from two sources on each active vessel that is passed to Alaska DOT&PF servers via satellite. Automated information displayed by the system includes navigation status, location, course, speed, scheduled time of arrival, scheduled time of departure, and time of last update. Data provided by the vessel crew includes estimated time of arrival and destination. The system has integrated the Alaska Marine Highway System schedule database to provide any schedule information that is required; for example, when a vessel is in port and a scheduled time of departure is displayed. Schedule data is also displayed in situations when real-time information is not available.
The online vessel tracking system went online August 1, 2011 with the AMHS module of the Alaska 511 system going live three months later in November. Both systems have been in operation since that time, with minor interruptions due to hardware issues on board the vessels. A second version of the tracking system is in development and will bring added trip planning features, detailed route information, and further integration of schedule information.
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