GPS Tracking the Big Picture

A lot of people still think GPS Tracking is just a minor business “bean counting” tool that’s useful for saving fractionally on fuel costs or driver overtime.  But it can be way more thna that as a tool for understanding and managing world economy.

Worldwide ship movements annually Scientists have come up with the first comprehensive map of global shipping routes based on actual itineraries. The team pieced together a year’s worth of travel itineraries from 16,693 cargo ships using data from LLoyd’s Register Fairplay and the Automatic Identification System, which tracks vessels using a VHF receiver and GPS.

A few hot spots logged the majority of journeys. The busiest port was the Panama Canal, followed by the Suez Canal and Shanghai.

“There is a strong similarity of statistical properties between shipping and aviation networks,” lead author Bernd Blasius, a mathematical modeler at Carl von Ossietzky University, wrote in an e-mail. “But different ship types (e.g., container ships vs. bulk carriers or oil tankers) are characterized by different movement patterns.”

The study will be published in a forthcoming Journal of the Royal Society: Interface.

Factoring in both the volume of ships and the number of other ports each is connected to, these are the top ports in the world:

1 Panama Canal
2 Suez Canal
3 Shanghai
4 Singapore
5 Antwerp
6 Piraeus
7 Terneuzen
8 Plaquemines
9 Houston
10 Ijmuiden
11 Santos
12 Tianjin
13 New York and New Jersey
14 Europoort
15 Hamburg
16 Le Havre
17 St Petersburg
18 Bremerhaven
19 Las Palmas
20 Barcelona

Image: Bernd Blasius

Citation: “The complex network of global cargo ship movements” Pablo Kaluza, Andrea Kölzsch, Michael T. Gastner and Bernd Blasius, J. Royal Society: Interface

Read More http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/01/global-shipping-map/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+(Wired%3A+Index+3+(Top+Stories+2))&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher#ixzz0yjugtNzV