A Window to Your MPA
The goal of Windward was simple: show governments what is happening on their waters. The original Windward team worked tirelessly to make this goal a reality. Gathering, cleaning, harmonizing and aggregating data from various sources – including data sourced from automated information systems (AIS), vessel management systems (VMS), vessel registrations and docking records, shore and satellite-based radar systems and more – to present one final picture of our oceans is exactly as challenging as it sounds. The early days of Windward were spent trying to “overcome the various weaknesses in maritime data,” explained Windward’s Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Michal Chafets. For maritime data was, and largely still is, “vast, unstandardized and open to manipulation,” – a key reason why others had not successfully tackled this task before.
Creating a “single, clear place” to hold maritime data – while enormously valuable on its own – was just the first step for Windward. Motivated to stop criminal activity, particularly focused on combatting illegal fishing, the Windward team went the extra mile by using their now-aggregated maritime data picture to create an “Activities” layer. This additional layer analyzes data to determine the activities of a given boat, thus painting an individual story about a vessel. And certain data tell certain stories. Some data indicates illegal fishing while others warn of transshipping, a practice commonly associated with illegal fishing. The ability to see “exactly what a vessel is doing,” Chafets explained, is where the true value of Windward lies.