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I'm going to write a game and include simulated shipping based upon real data.

MarineTraffic.com has some great data, but I really don't need it to be live, up to the minute. I could use data that was captured a year ago or so, maybe hourly.

I've also looked at fleetmon.com and vesselfinder.com, but alas, they all want money. I've searched for a Google fusion table of maritime traffic, but no joy.

shipfinder.co looks interesting....

http://catalog.data.gov/dataset/commercial-vessel-density-october-2009-2010-ais-national might be what I want but when I follow the hyperlink to ftp://ftp.csc.noaa.gov/pub/MSP/AIS/CommercialVesselDensityOctober2009-2010National.zip it says "Page not found".

I found http://catalog.data.gov/dataset/2011-atlantic-vessel-density but it has a 500 meg .gdbtable file that I don't know how to interpret.

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    Philip, contact me via details in my profile. I answered your question as best I could with the information provided, I have some info that I cannot post publically. – Mark Cupitt Aug 3 '14 at 3:05
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Some time ago I was searching for shipping graphs to try playing with routing, but I found a little. Here's some links: - http://geocommons.com/maps/109850 (contains a density on the arc) http://gizmodo.com/see-the-global-shipping-revolution-in-these-beautiful-o-1556851187 (links to a dataset I couldn't process)

I wonder if there are complete dumps somewhere...

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Depending on what part of the world you are in, you could use AisHub

Their model requires you to provide data from an ais station and then you get a feed for all the stations they have in return which you are free to do with whatever you like.

Their coverage is not as good as Marine Traffic but it does have a world wide scope

It is a lot of data to store. Unfortunately you did not specify the area and length of time you need the data for, so it is difficult to offer any more advice.

Only other option would be to approach Marine Traffic to purchase the data, I am not sure if they would allow that

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