Some belated notes on the webinar:
Started by highlighting some of the new features in the revamped GFW portal – including the ability to export reports (currently as pdf, but csv coming), embedding workspaces into your own webpages, adding your own data layers, reporting by EEZ, MPA, RFMA boundaries etc. Best to jump in and explore your area of interest, it's a nice intuitive interface.
VMS – the headline news is of course the inclusion of Indonesian VMS dataset, in addition to the AIS GFW previously had. This equates to approximately 5000 additional vessels (one of, if not the largest VMS datasets in the world) available through GFW. The Indonesian govt has made this data available directly to the GFW team in return for them applying their algorithms to process and analyse the data. The Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries then can access the processed data in full (i.e. non-anonymised) via a secure private GFW workspace; for the rest of us a public workspace allows us to view the same data but with boat vessel IDs are suppressed and information such as vessel length, width, type given only in broad categories (similar to, say, the MMOs analysis of VMS for the UK in the publically available dataset but with individual pings/tracks also made available rather than aggregated grids). Interestingly Peru has announced they will follow suit, it would be very exciting if this is the beginning of a domino effect…
Some notes, in no particular order: 1) you don’t (yet) access the Indonesia VMS data via the main GFW map – you need to go via the link to see the public workspace with the Indonesian VMS loaded. 2) the VMS data covers from 2014 to the present. GFW receive new data daily and are presently processing it to be up within ~2 weeks, but aim to get this down to ~72 hours (by way of comparison, the AIS data, which they receive more regularly, is up within ~24hrs) 3) there’s no download facility (but for individual vessels you can export reports). 4) there is little overlap between Indonesian vessels carrying AIS and VMS, ~5%, so the VMS data has had limited validation.
One important issue that was touched on in the Q&A – whilst it is undoubtedly an excellent resource, with lots of exciting potential, GFW have not developed tools (yet) to automaticallly identify/interpret/highlight IUU (although there is the potential transhipment analysis GFW did which is available for download), it is down to the user to interpret activity. As a dataset it is most useful in the offshore, the issue remains is that the picture remains incomplete without smaller vessels of inshore fleets (some may carry AIS/VMS but relatively few). I’d also add that whilst the move by Indonesia and Peru is really encouraging, for many of us operating elsewhere this doesn’t help us for now. For other countries with VMS systems in place worth requesting data from relevant govt ministries (or opening a dialogue with them where formal data request processes are not in place) for your particular area of interest and analysing yourself, if you are lucky enough to be granted access. There are some great tools like vmstools R package with which to handle these data… And of course there are a number of alternative VMS technologies that have cropped up in recent years, e.g. iVMS and Pelagic Data Systems, etc. which hold promise for capturing smaller vessels - would be great to hear more about these on Wildlabs!