Sunday, September 18, 2005

Keeping Track of the Cruise Ships

Many of us have stood in Venice and watched, with dismay, as a huge cruise ship lumbered past San Marco, dwarfing everything around it. Now you can keep track of them and, if you live in Venice, prepare for the hordes of tourists that will soon be released from the bowels of the boat. Thanks to Weird Venice reader Tom Winkle for sending me this info:

"Go to and register for the public site. This is a worldwide website that provides real-time information on ship movements in many of the world's ports. It tracks ships by their Automatic Identification System transponder; an international requirement since late last year. The real-time site is subscription only due to terrorist concerns. The public site has at least an hour's delay built in and will not display any information beyond ship name, type and radio call sign. (The AIS system will display much more: origin, destination, IMO number, course, speed, etc.)

"By now you are probably asking, 'What the HECK does this have to do with Venice?!?' Simple! You can see exactly how many cruise ships have descended on 'our fair city.' It's interesting to observe the comings and goings. By clicking on the ship names in the list on the lower left, it circles the ship on the display and shows name, type of ship and its call sign. Cruise ship names are rather distinctive, so they're easy to pick out. When you click on one in the list, it will display 'passenger' under type." Posted by Picasa

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