Automatic Identification System (AIS)
An Automatic Identification System (AIS) is used for identifying and monitoring maritime traffic. AIS sends and receives vessel identification information which can be displayed on a laptop computer or chart plotter. Information such as vessel name, radio call sign, navigational status (eg. at anchor, underway using the engine), speed, heading, type of ship/cargo, destination, and estimated time of arrival are all examples of information that can be displayed.
But, the real advantage of AIS is that all the major manufacturers of marine electronics allow AIS data to be combined with other electronics.