I've used MarineTraffic.com for finding details about yachts and ships I've seen in ports. It's a really cool website.
They also have an API, but, unfortunately, there is no free access.
There is an API option from FleetMon that is mostly-free:
The FleetMon Public API lets software developers create great software apps that are able to display ship ...
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 ...
The Norwegian Coastal Administration have an open AIS stream available, licensed under the Norwegian Licence for Open Government Data (NLOD) 2.0.
It's a TCP endpoint that you can access with a tool such as nc and pipe through a decoder like gpsdecode:
nc 184.108.40.206 5631|gpsdecode ...
I cannot find anything free. if you want it enough, then you can join AIS hub, BUT they require that you provide a feed before you can share the feeds of all other members.
The cheapest AIS receiver that I can find costs about $60, plus antenna.
If it's worth it, only you can decide.
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. ...