Article

New Digital Information Service for Vessel Traffic in the Arctic


published on 15 September 2020 81

Text and photos by The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA)

The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) has established a new digital information service to increase safety for vessel traffic in Arctic areas.

ArcticInfo is a free of charge service that provides important information on Arctic waters and decision support for safer navigation.

The service provides information specifically for vessels that operate in Arctic waters, such as fishing vessels, cruise traffic and research and expedition vessels.
In ArcticInfo mariners get access to AIS data showing the position, speed and course of all vessels in Arctic waters. ArcticInfo retrieves AIS data from different authorities, including Norway's AIS basestations at Svalbard. The image shows Norway's AIS basestation at Prins Karls Forland in Svalbard, established in 2019. Photo: Foto: Anne Grethe Nilsen/Norwegian Coastal Administration..
In ArcticInfo mariners get access to AIS data showing the position, speed and course of all vessels in Arctic waters. ArcticInfo retrieves AIS data from different authorities, including Norway's AIS basestations at Svalbard. The image shows Norway's AIS basestation at Prins Karls Forland in Svalbard, established in 2019. Photo: Foto: Anne Grethe Nilsen/Norwegian Coastal Administration..
In ArcticInfo mariners get access to AIS data showing the position, speed and course of all vessels in Arctic waters. ArcticInfo retrieves AIS data from different authorities, including Norway's AIS basestations at Svalbard. The image shows Norway's AIS basestation at Prins Karls Forland in Svalbard, established in 2019. Photo: Foto: Anne Grethe Nilsen/Norwegian Coastal Administration..
In ArcticInfo mariners get access to AIS data showing the position, speed and course of all vessels in Arctic waters. ArcticInfo retrieves AIS data from different authorities, including Norway's AIS basestations at Svalbard. The image shows Norway's AIS basestation at Prins Karls Forland in Svalbard, established in 2019. Photo: Foto: Anne Grethe Nilsen/Norwegian Coastal Administration..
By using the service, vessels get access to relevant information about Arctic areas and sea areas off the coast of Norway, Iceland, the Russian Federation, Canada and Greenland, including the Barents Sea and the North Sea. The service includes ice maps, including ice concentrations and drift ice, weather forecasts, notification service to Greenland authorities, and AIS data that gives an overview of other vessels in nearby areas, making it a valuable tool in emergency-situations.

ArcticInfo is a free of charge service accessible to everyone at BarentsWatch, https://www.barentswatch.no/arcticinfo/. With extended access, you can get AIS information for the entire Arctic area. By linking your vessel to your individual user account, you can easily locate your vessel in the map.  If you are sailing in Greenland waters, you can also send voyage plans to Greenland authorities through the ArcticInfo service. You can submit an application for extended access online, which is processed manually in normally 1 or 2 days.

Improved planning, safety and emergency preparedness

Low temperatures and extreme weather conditions, periodically low daylight, limited communication facilities and infrastructure, poor charts and vast distances with limited resources are some of the challenges for shipping in Arctic waters.

 “Increasing ship traffic in a region with many limitations and challenges places greater demands on planning, safety and emergency preparedness. Our aim is to provide important shipping-related information digitally in one service, giving mariners a better overview of Arctic waters, and thereby providing decision-making support for safer navigation,” says Head of the NCA Centre for Pilotage and Vessel Traffic Services, Jon Leon Ervik.

 

Vessels with limited communication capabilities can also download the service and use it offline. The web service is stored in your browser, so when you are offline the map will continue to work where you have previously clicked while you were online.

The NCA wants to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents that can have consequences for people and the environment in Arctic areas. This service aims to provide user-friendly digital information for maritime operators both on and offshore.

Will be further developed

“The service will be further developed to include more information services and data on Arctic waters,” says Ervik. “We want to develop a functionality that allows mariners to enter observations on weather, ice conditions, pollution and wildlife that can be shared with other users of the service.”

The Norwegian Coastal Administration uses BarentsWatch to develop the service. The service gathers, develops and shares information about Norwegian coastal and marine areas. The goal is to facilitate information sharing between governmental agencies, industry and the public.

«By smoothly developing digital services, BarentsWatch addresses the needs of our users. User needs form the basis of the systems and solutions we have developed and will continue to develop together with different partners. This is also the key philosophy behind ArcticInfo,” says CEO Geir Schulstad in BarentsWatch.

Replaces Danish digital information service

ArcticInfo replaces ArcticWeb, a Danish digital information service for shipping traffic in waters off the coast of Greenland, which was taken over by the Norwegian Coastal Administration in 2018. Since then, the service has been further developed and extended to include the Barents Sea and North Sea.

To ensure that ArcticInfo meets user needs, the Norwegian Coastal Administration requests users to provide feedback (criticism, praise, questions and ideas). Feel free to use the "Give Feedback" feature on the ArcticInfo website.

Contact information

Head of the NCA Centre for Pilotage and Vessel Traffic Services, Jon Leon Ervik
Tel: +47 916 81 538, jon.leon.ervik@kystverket.no

Project Manager Eivind Rinde, BarentsWatch
Tel: +47 906 96 094, eivind.rinde@barentswatch.no

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