Researchers at University College London's Institute of Energy, in conjunction with data visualization studio Kiln, created a unique interactive map of global commercial shipping traffic for 2012.
To create the map, the researchers used AIS data showing the location and speed of ships and cross-checked with a database of ship characteristics, such as engine type and hull length. Using this information, they calculated CO2 emissions for each observed hour throughout 2012. The data was visualized using WebGL by overlaying it on a map showing major ports, major river arteries and an indication of ocean depth.
The map shows tankers in red, dry bulk carriers in blue, container ships in yellow, gas carriers in green, and roll-on roll-off carriers in purple. Even when the background map is turned off, coastlines are clearly identified due to the dense traffic in the coastal areas. The main highways - the English Channel, the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal- are clearly defined.» If you turn on the map filter «routes, you can see the busiest areas of the world's oceans: Mediterranean Sea, East China Sea, Arabian Sea. In some countries rivers are actively used for commercial navigation: in Russia the Volga, the Yenisei and the Lena, in the USA the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, in South America the Amazon and the Uruguay Rivers.