www.marinetraffic.com tracks the locations ships equipped with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder, which is now required for ships over 299 gross tons. The data for presented for each ship includes:
- Name of ship and flag
- Type of ship
- Speed and course
- Photo of the ship
- Link to further details about the ship
The data is collected by about 500 land-based receiver stations throughout the world, so it doesn’t include ships that are far out at sea or in remote areas. But it’s still an impressive amount of data.
Many other features can be found a their website, including a Google Maps version of the data that displays a bit more information and has a few features lacking in the Google Earth version.