Follow us on

MERMAID – Maritime Routing Graph based on AIS Data

Table of Contents

In global supply chains, the transitions between sea transport and land transport play an important role, as sea transport on a global scale provides a significant part of the global goods transport service. Reliable information about the expected arrival of a ship at the port of destination is of considerable importance for a smooth transition. While the ship’s command and their shipping companies are usually fully informed about the travel planning, this is not the case for the senders and forwarders of the goods. If the arrival changes, they are often only informed at short notice. This leads to unnecessary downtimes and waiting times and prevents efficient “just-in-time” planning.

For a reliable forecast of the arrival time, detailed ship data (destination port, cruising speed, course, current position, weather, draft, tide times, etc.) and a forecast of the planned ship route and the required travel time are necessary. The data of the ships exist, among other things, in the form of AIS data (automatic identification system), although not in the form required for the above forecast.

Project Goal

In the MERMAID project, a method for routing and precisely estimating the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) of ships is being developed. The result will be a module that is able to derive a routable edge-node model of the maritime traffic based on AIS data. In addition to the precise arrival time forecast of ships, the user has the added value of a more precise forecast and visualization of the routes.

The AIS data required for this is provided by the industrial partner JAKOTA Cruise Systems GmbH from Rostock. Based on this, algorithms are implemented which generate a routable graph for commercially used sea routes. This graph is expanded with partially dynamic and static information (e.g. speed limits, possibly depending on the type of ship, size restrictions, draft / depth restrictions, weather conditions, tide, one-way regulations). The dynamic information follows the model of travel times in road traffic: it depends on the day / time of day and is to be understood as a forecast, which a routing algorithm takes into account. Based on this graph, a most likely route and the ETA can then be determined for any ship.


As a result of MERMAID, a graph of all sea routes worldwide that are used by commercial shipping has been created from the AIS data provided. The graph will be tested and expanded in coordination with FleetMon so that it can be used in existing systems. The graph connects all the ports which are served. The results have been presented at the transport logistic 2019 logistics trade fair in Munich.


When: 04.-07. Juni 2019
Where: At the joint booth of Region Köln/Bonn e.V., Hall B5, booth 206.


Conquer the oceans with MERMAID – at the transport logistic from 4th – 7th June 2019

We are currently developing the world’s best marine routing network, with more than 2 million network points...

Status meeting: research project MERMAID

Last Monday, the 4th of march 2019, the 4th MERMAID Status Meeting took place. At the DLR place in Neustrelitz, the project members: the DLR Institute of Transport Systems Technology...

Table of Contents

Project Coordinator

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt
DLR - German Aerospace Center

Institute of Transportation Systems

Project Partner

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt
DLR - German Aerospace Center

Institute of Communications and Navigation

Associate Partners

FleetMon from Kpler
Kpler Germany GmbH

FleetMon from Kpler

Funded by

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt
DLR - German Aerospace Center

Technology Marketing

Project Duration

Dec 2017 – Feb 2020

Contact Person

Project Logo (.png, transparent)

Share This Project