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Automatic Identification System (AIS)

AIS (Automatic Identification System) was introduced by the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to increase the safety of ships and the environment, and to improve traffic monitoring and maritime traffic services.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration established AIS Norway in 2005, which today consists of approximately 50 base stations that receive information about all ships over 300 gross tons in international traffic.

AIS Norway registers three types of information:

  • Dynamic (position, course, speed)
  • Static (identity, vessel type, dimensions)
  • Details on the sailing (destination, estimated time of arrival, cargo, draught)

AIS range is limited by VHF range, which is determined primarily by the height of the antenna. AIS Norway covers, with some exceptions, the area from the Norwegian baseline to 40-60 nautical miles from the coast.

AIS is an important tool in the national preparedness against marine accidents and acute pollution along the coast.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration administers AIS Norway and is responsible for distributing AIS data to other governmental agencies. The Rescue Coordination Centres, the Coast Guard and the police are some of the users of AIS data.

AIS data received by AIS Norway is stored over several years, making it a valuable tool for mapping transport patterns and trends in relation to transport planning and analysis in the maritime sector.


  • The Norwegian Coastal Administration's land-based AIS network consists of AIS base stations at around 50 locations along the Norwegian coast.
  • The AIS network is one of the measures presented in the "Government's Plan of Action for Increased Safety and Emergency Preparedness along the Coast" in 2001 in order to improve the monitoring of ship traffic. The Norwegian Parliament allocated NOK 40 million to this project over the period from 2002 to 2004.
  • The AIS messages are collected by the network and made available to the different governmental agencies. The network also contains databases for the storage of AIS data for several years.

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