tial funding in 2005 and had a soft launch July 15.
According to Connaughton, the system, as it is currently configured, cost $10 million to develop and will
probably need another $5 million to $6 million to
“have a more complete picture” of the maritime industry. Once fully functional, he said it would take about
$2 million annually to keep running.
Connaughton said the first step in developing
MarView was providing seed money to the marine
exchanges at ports. Exchanges are industry associations formed to support the ships coming into the port.
They make sure the longshoremen are lined up, the
Coast Guard is notified, and tugs, customs and immigration are there when a ship arrives.
“The seed money was to help them develop a common architecture so they can track all of the AIS data
within their area of responsibility,” he said.
AIS and other tracking data comes from many
sources, such as Voluntary Observation Ship, the
Maritime Information Services of North America, the
Maritime Safety and Security Information System, the
Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification
System, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, as well as commercial sources such as
Lloyds’ AIS Live, PortVision and others. But MARAD
officials hope MarView will soon add satellite AIS data,
which will give an even more accurate view of shipping on the world’s waterways.
Data used to shape the MarView picture also comes
from sources such as port exchanges, the Army Corps
of Engineers, the Coast Guard and
Lloyds Register–Fairplay Ltd., a
global provider of maritime information to the shipping industry.
The system soon will use PIERS, a
comprehensive database of import
and export cargo information
through ports in the United States,
Mexico, Latin America, Asia and
Along with contributing to
greater maritime domain awareness, MarView will offer the ability
to get information on intermodal
freight transportation, including
alerts to rail or trucking bottlenecks
or other problems with landside
transportation. The goal is to one
day be able to view the entire supply chain, MARAD officials said.
MarView also keeps statistics on
trained and licensed mariners,
with crewing information broken
down by region.
MARAD officials said MarView could be of great use
in disaster response.
“Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of this system,
which has not even been realized yet, is in the recovery phase after some kind of incident,” said Louis Effa,
the chief information officer at MARAD. “Imagine if
you’re in your car, and there’s an accident up ahead,
how great it would be if you could quickly find alternate routes, where you can refuel or at least know what
kind of delay you’re going to face.”
Connaughton added that if there was some kind of
attack or incident involving a port or ship, having accurate, real-time knowledge of where ships are and what
their status is would make it easier to divert vessels, or
possibly use nearby vessels as part of a response effort.
One unique feature of the system is the ability to
replay traffic from the past, to gain a better understanding of how it flows in and around a certain point
on a given day or in a certain season, something
MARAD officials said could be invaluable in dealing
with a crisis that would involve rerouting ships.
Connaughton was quick to point out, however, that
while MarView offers a great deal of useful information
and is relatively inexpensive, it is just one part of the
government’s ongoing efforts to gain greater maritime
“The Navy and Coast Guard are also working on
similar [maritime domain awareness] efforts, and
MarView will add another, very detailed layer to that
picture,” he said. ■
The Maritime Administration’s MarView allows users to obtain a real-time view
of numerous components — such as port locations, illustrated here on this
screen shot — of the U.S. maritime system using a single Web portal.