AIS glossary


AIS: Automatic Identification System
AIS approvals: Nationally set minimum requirements for relevant AIS products
AIS base station: An onshore AIS unit that monitors traffic in the waterways
AIS command centre: An AIS system that monitors AIS base stations along a coastline
AIS messages: AIS data is sent in messages to other devices via the AIS slot map
AIS Slot Map: Time slots of 26.6 milliseconds that AIS devices transmit data into
Antenna Splitter: A unit that manages how the VHF antenna is used by the radio and AIS device
AtoN: Aid to Navigation, AIS on a buoy out to sea
CCNR (Central Commission for Navigation of the Rhine): Organisation that regulates AIS devices on inland waterways in Europe
CE (Conformité Européenne, European Conformity): Organisation that regulates all non SOLAS vessel AIS products in Europe
Class A: A transceiver unit designed for SOLAS vessels that fall under the IMO mandate
Class B: A transceiver unit that offers AIS functionality to all non SOLAS vessels
Carrier Sense Time-Division Multiple-Access (CSTDMA): A system used by Class B based units to transmit data
Fixed Access Time-Division Multiple-Access (FATDMA): A system used by AtoNs to transmit data
FCC (Federal Communications Commission): Organisation that regulates radio devices in America
Glonass: A Russian based positioning system that AIS uses to calculate where the vessel is
GPS: Positioning system that AIS uses to calculate where the vessel is
Incremental Time-Division Multiple-Access (ITDMA): A system used by AIS devices to transmit data
IC (Industry Canada): Organisation that regulates radio devices in Canada
IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission): Organisation that sets the AIS test standards for the IMO
IMO: the International Maritime Organisation, the governing body of international maritime transportation
Man overboard: A small device that monitors crew who are working on a vessel
Mandate: A law that specifies AIS for certain vessels. Both national and international laws are referred to as mandates
Pre-Announced Time-Division Multiple-Access (PATDMA): A system used by SARTs to transmit data
Random Access Time-Division Multiple-Access (RATDMA): A system used by AtoNs to transmit data
Receive: Receive data from other AIS devices via the AIS slot map
Receiver: A unit that only receives data
SART: Search and Rescue Transponder, alerts ships in range that there is a lifeboat needing assistance
SOLAS: Safety of Life at Sea regulations created by the IMO
Self Organised Time-Division Mulitple-Access (SOTDMA): A system used by Class A units to transmit data
Transport Canada: Organisation that regulates AIS devices in Canada
Transceiver: A unit that both transmits and receives data
Transmit: Sending data to other ships, shore based stations and AtoNs via the AIS slot map
United States Coast Guard: Organisation that regulates AIS devices in America
VDL: The VHF Data Link the technical term for the AIS slot map
VHF radio: The technology that AIS uses to transmit data to the AIS slot map
Wheelmark: Approval award from the European Union for all SOLAS vessel AIS units