[Based on an article originally posted on neave-eng.com]
As we've just had our big media launch of the project, and as my first blog on Gamasutra, I thought I'd share some information about the project I've been working on as part of my job at the Satellite Applications Catapult here in the UK.
For the past 18 months we have been working on a project with Pew Charitable Trusts with the goal of building a system to use satellite derived data to track and deter illegal fishing at sea. Around one in five fish sold today is illegally caught so it's a certainly a big problem to tackle. Our system uses a live feed of vessel positions, currently provided by ExactEarth, using satellite AIS (Automatic Identification System) combined with a few other data sources to create a near real-time and historical view of fishing activity around the world.
We're using the Unity games engine for data visualisation and as the interface to the system, both on our video wall and desktop machines, and we have a tablet version in the works. The video wall runs at 11536x3252 and Unity runs a treat! We've hundred of thousands of vessels tracked at any point in time, all of which are rendered and animated on the screen at an accelerated rate for analysis.
We are building the system using MMOs as inspiration as we've all seen how it's possible to organise and work in a large group of people in raids to achieve a common goal. Having analysts working globally with large sets of data, it seemed a good model of interaction to follow. A few screenshots and a video of the software in action are below, as the son of an engineer and ecologist I'm happy to say I'm proud of the work we're doing and this is only the beginning.
Our system is capable of showing in near-realtime the global positions of every vessel broadcasting around the world as well as showing them moving along their courses in a highly accelerated rate. This allows our analysts to see how vessels move in relation to each other in a more intuitive manner and allows them to quickly analyse movements of large numbers of vessels.
A track of a confirmed fishing vessel working around the waters of the Pitcairn Islands
The dataset rendered in a spherical projection
Global view of maritime activity
Maritime activity around the UK; Orange vessels are confirmed fishing vessels, yellow vessels are unconfirmed fishing vessels (ie. we only have information broadcast from the vessels), red vessels are fishing support vessels and blue vessels are unknown or not involved in fishing.
A full screen, compressed, screenshot from our operations room running the Virtual Watchroom software as part of Project Eyes on the Seas.
More information on the project, can be found here; http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/multimedia/video/2015/project-eyes-on-the-seas
We're considering doing a live presentation of the system in a few weeks using Twitch or similar, if anyone would be interested in a demo or if you've any thoughts or comments they are welcome.