searching for a free shiptracking app


Active Member
Hi everyone!
Im trying to figure out if some UFO claim is nothing more than a mast light of a ship in the far distance.
But to find that out i want to check the historical movements of ships or boats in the area on a specific date and time.
Although there is a site called marinetraffic that can show historical routes of ships, its too expensive for me to use that ( €73 euro!) just for 1 case.

So my question is are there alternatives or maybe someone has acces to the payed version who can check it out for me i would very appreciate it !
But to find that out i want to check the historical movements of ships or boats in the area on a specific date and time.
there's probably a specific site that can do that for a certain price, hope that helps :p

please realize that it makes answering your question more attractive if we know what you're looking for. I found a site that has data back to 2010 and gives you 200 km² free if you don't mess up the complex search query syntax, but why would I put effort into writing it up and satisfying metabunk's link policy if I don't even know if that's what you're looking for?

btw what you want is "AIS Historical Vessel Positions", with AIS being the name of the ship tracking system—unless you're interested in the ships' movements which requires tracks, or maybe positions at two different times.
there is no requirement for recreational boats to have or use AIS on board

Class B, for recreational boats, is fully interoperable with Class A, and both vessels will "see" each other. But Class B has lower power, transmits its position every 30 seconds (every 3 minutes if moving slower than 2 knots)

so if the vessel with the mast is a recreational sail boat, it might not have had AIS at the time, or the AIS trackers feeding into the databases might not have picked it up.
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  1. Search for free data, for example using Google Dataset Search.
A great source of free (historical) AIS data is NOAA office for coastal management. They publish historical AIS data making it accessible through easy-to-download csv files published on an FTP site.​

Now that you downloaded this data, how to start using it? Well, here comes the catch. This data is big. Probably too big for the tools that you are using now.

To put this in perspective: A single file covering one day of maritime traffic around Denmark provided by the DMA is about 2GB in size and contains about 10 million location records. This means a month of data is about 60GB and a year of data is about 700GB, covering over 3 billion data points. Just copying this data takes time, let alone trying to visualize, and analyze the data.​
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I remember when we got the ship tracking data for the drone swarm Navy stuff with the Chinese freighter the dataset was so large it had to be loaded into a DB engine so it could be manipulated.