Google Maps is adding waterway travel routes to maps of England and Wales, reports the BBC, and has expanded live traffic coverage to include 7 new regions in 7 new countries including Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Mexico, Peru, Romania and South Africa.
The waterway deal includes updating Google Maps to include 2,000 miles of canal and river paths. Currently, waterways are not listed on Google Maps as active routes people can use to move about.
Google is working with the Canal and River Trust, adding towpaths to Google Maps and encouraging people to discover their local waterway,” said Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google UK.
Oddly, Google has not yet offered live vessel tracking. The Automatic Identification System enables anyone to track vessels inexpensively. AIS uses a ship’s VHF radio. It transmits the ship’s name, heading, speed and GPS location every two minutes or so to a terrestrial receiver. But AIS signal range is limited and does not extend to the open ocean.
Space-based AIS could take it from there (although location information in the open ocean may be restricted to paid subscribers). Mobile AIS apps for iPhone and Android are available, too. They show current commercial vessel locations on your phone or tablet at little or no cost. In the future, Radar MASINT may be able to identify unmarked vessels.
Ship tracking applications for Android include Ship Finder and VTExplorer, MarineTraffic.com, and Vessel Tracker while iPhone AIS applications include AIS Live, Ship Finder HD Free, Marine Traffic, iNavX and GTrax.
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