Maritime & Logistics – Traffic density maps for ships and cargos

Project types: Application development
Customer: c-EMSA

European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) mission is to serve EU maritime interests for a safe, secure, green and competitive maritime sector and act as a reliable and respected point of reference in the maritime sector in Europe and worldwide. EMSA capitalises on its unique know-how to position itself as an essential player in the maritime cluster in Europe and beyond.  EMSA works on maritime safety, security, climate, environment and single market issues and tasks, first as a service provider to Member States and the Commission, but also as an innovative and reliable partner and knowledge hub for the European maritime cluster and potentially beyond as a reference internationally.

GeoSolutions has been working with EMSA since 2016 in various projects; in this post we are going to briefly cover the the Traffic Density Maps system which we have developed and we are mantaining for EMSA. Traffic Density Maps are computed periodically combining various ship positions sources, above all AIS data, in order to  offer a simple and effective way of displaying ship movement patterns, thereby contributing to a better understanding of maritime traffic by making it possible to tell whether an area is characterised by high or low ship traffic. This, in turn, enables the relevant authorities to make risk assessments, improve traffic planning and enhance overall ship safety.

We process EMSA’s AIS data, which is stored in an Oracle DBMS, to rebuild the track of each distinct ship from its recorded positions and to count how many routes are crossing each cell of an EU-wide grid during a given time period. This method can be implemented in all regions (coastal and open sea), using all the available ships’ position data and allows ship routes to be connected even within areas with a low coverage. The method, agreed with the member states, is available on EMSA’s website. The worfklow runs periodically in a fully automated way thanks to the Apache Airflow Open Source workflow engine and generated density maps as raster files (geotiff) which are then shipped both to end users as well as to the publishing infrastructure. Density Maps are generated each month as well as annually and seasonly for all ships as well as for a number of ship types like Cargo, Fishing, Passenger and more.

Traffic Density Maps detail

A custom-tailored administration web application to configure and control workflows has been developed framework and it is now in use at EMSA.

TDM Workflow Status

EMSA TDM platform uses OGC protocols via GeoServer for disseminating traffic density maps via standard WMS and WFS interfaces, which are, in turn, consumed by various EMSA Maritime Applications as well by external clients.

TDM for all types of ship for July 2020 in the English Channel

TDM for all types of ship for July 2020 in the English Channel

We are proud to work with organizations like EMSA in such challenging projects where we actually see our work impacting important use cases and being able to make a difference.

If you are interested in learning about how we can help you achieving your goals with open source products like GeoServerMapStoreGeoNode and GeoNetwork through our Enterprise Support Services Subscription Services or Professional Training Services offer, feel free to contact us!

The GeoSolutions Team,




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