Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a mandatory international navigation safety communications system under the provisions of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Conventions endorsed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The Convention requires ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards engaged on international voyages, cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards not engaged on international voyages, and all passenger ships irrespective of size to be fitted with AIS transponders. For more information, visit allaboutais.com

Through such research and development activities at exactEarth, AIS signals have been detected by our satellites since July 2010 and provide a global capability for monitoring all AIS-equipped vessels using a satellite constellation and an extensive network of ground stations.

Satellite AIS has been utilized for vessel tracking since 2010 and has changed the landscape for monitoring the maritime domain. Improving upon existing technology already deployed aboard most large vessels across the globe, Satellite AIS is truly revolutionary in providing a complete and global picture of the world’s shipping given the installation of AIS on over half a million vessels.



The Next Generation Satellite AIS Constellation Provides Real-Time Global Ship Tracking   

As a result of an ever-growing demand for immediate maritime domain awareness, exactEarth partnered with L3Harris Technologies to deliver the world's ONLY real-time advanced ship tracking solution by optimizing a global satellite constellation for AIS.  

The exactView Real-Time service will provide you with the most current and complete vessel information available. 

Key Features: 

  • Global average revisit under one minute 
  • Customer data latency under one minute 
  • Reliable detection of both Class A and Class B AIS messages 
  • Tracking of large populations of small vessels with exactTrax™ equipped with AIS transceivers
  • Support for the future evolution of AIS to support VDES and other initiatives in the maritime VHF band 

 These advancements allow for: 

  • Immediate awareness of maritime incidents in your waters 
  • Maximum efficiency of your resources using the most complete and up-to-date vessel picture available 
  • The single source of truth for all your AIS data needs




exactView is not only a collection of coordinated satellites, but a complete data services business solution which encompasses the detection and transmission of AIS marine vessel information for distribution to customers around the world.

Connecting with our network of ground stations, the securely transmitted Satellite AIS data enables our customers to monitor and track their area of interest (AOI) and make better decisions that may affect trade, security, environmental protection, and search and rescue missions.

The filtered AIS data is rapidly distributed, and a complete maritime picture is obtained in the swiftest possible timeframe to then be made available through a variety of secure network connections.

The first generation exactView constellation of satellites was completed in 2018. Watch our first generation constellation video clip, which includes EV-9, the first equatorial satellite in the constellation which greatly improves global revisit times. 

Harnessing the real-time power of 60+ satellites, exactEarth's second-generation constellation now complete!


For any government agency that needs to track more than just the larger commercial ships in its waters, AIS and VMS mandates do not address the huge population of smaller vessels of interest. This leaves the vast majority of boats in their waters as ‘dark targets’, ultimately spreading an agency’s resources too thin to monitor all of its EEZ.  

exactTrax-enabled AIS transponders combined with exactEarth’s comprehensive satellite coverage, provides a low cost standards-based solution for tracking of small fishing boats and small commercial vessels in any part of a country’s EEZ.







The exactEarth technology platform consists of a number of elements:

  • AIS Transponders: The source of data for our exactAIS® service is the AIS transponders that are already installed aboard more than 500,000 vessels worldwide. No changes to existing onboard equipment or additional procedures are required to the vessel.
  • Satellite Payloads Receivers: Designed to receive AIS data from the exactView™ Real-Time constellation is the result of several years of focused research and development, and has led to technology that is uniquely capable of “de-colliding” the signals received simultaneously from a large number of vessels. This has resulted in the highest ship detection levels commercially available.
  • Ground Stations: A series of ground stations strategically located around the globe are in place to receive data from the satellites as they pass overhead on every orbit. The downlinked and fully encrypted data is then sent from the ground station to our Data Processing Centre.
  • Data Processing Centre: A secure computer facility processes and stores the data received from the series of ground stations. This facility is a top tier data centre with extremely high reliability, including redundant power, cooling, fire suppression and physical security systems.
  • Operations Centre: The In-House Operations Centre manages both the collection of the Satellite AIS data from the satellite network as well as the dataset configuration and distribution of data feeds to the various customers around the world.
  • Customer Delivery Data: Delivered to competent maritime authorities through a variety of highly secure methods. Customers can select either a data interface within their existing display system, a web-based display, or a comprehensive turn-key solution.



Fusing the L3Harris AppSTAR™ reconfigurable payload platform and exactEarth's proven and patented signal de-collision detection technology, exactView™ RT powered by L3Harris Technologies represents the most advanced in-orbit processing capabilities conceivable built with the ability to adapt and evolve to change in the maritime marketplace. 

exactView™ RT powered by L3Harris Technologies utilizes:

  • Simultaneous global satellite coverage from 60+ hosted payloads in the Iridium constellation
  • Inter-satellite communication capabilities to deliver AIS vessel positions in real-time
  • Patented message processing that provides best in class vessel detection rates
  • L3Harris' maritime VHF receiver architecture that provides significant flexibility and reprogrammability that can adapt to the ever-changing maritime industry

Mission Complete! Learn more about the newly refreshed Iridium Network, providing truly global coverage. 




With only a single polar orbiting satellite, exactEarth can provide complete global coverage. As the satellite orbits north-south, the Earth turns east-west underneath the orbital plane.

Within about 12 hours, the satellite will have observed every point on the planet. During that 12 hour period, the poles will have each been observed every 100 minutes.

exactEarth deploys microsatellites in the exactView constellation to collect AIS data and transmit it back to earth stations for processing. Some of the satellites include the capability for "onboard" processing as well in the provision of securely streamed vessel information.



AIS is a Very High Frequency (VHF) technology primarily optimised and designed for high intensity terrestrial-based tracking with reliable range typically limited to approximately 50 nautical miles.  High powered Class A type transceivers are able to be tracked globally by the existing exactEarth AIS satellite network, however due to a variety of complex reasons, transmissions from standard Class B type devices cannot currently be reliably tracked from space.

The reception of Class B units from space has been traditionally hindered because Class B units are designed to always show deference to Class A devices.  Class B units transmit less frequently at a lower power level.  As Class A populations increase within a satellite footprint, the Class B transmissions become indistinguishable from the general noise floor.  By utilising patented exactEarth Satellite AIS signal processing techniques, exactTrax allows terrestrial and satellite tracking of these small vessels without requiring expensive equipment and per-bit message charges for the ship owner.   

exactTrax is a unique technology which, when embedded within standard low-powered AIS transponders, enables their transmissions to be consistently received by exactEarth satellites. This allows wide-area tracking of these vessels and also enables the provision of valuable supplementary AIS tracking data to existing terrestrial networks with limited coverage.

exactTrax represents the most cost-efficient and comprehensive solution to monitor all of the world’s shipping, regardless of vessel size and location.

For more information on exactTrax, contact our sales team at sales@exactearth.com 




We are happy to announce that exactEarth is now part of Spire Global

We are incredibly excited to join the Spire family. As we complete the integration of our businesses, we will continue to look for opportunities to serve you better today and in the future. Together, we will continue to drive the digitalization of the maritime industry by building trusting relationships and providing our customers with innovative, actionable data solutions that have a meaningful impact on businesses, society and the planet.

Link to announcement