Articles written by Lars Brandstäter

Hanse Sail opening today, sailers arriving at Rostock!

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From today on, Rostock, the proud Digital Seas home town, has the pleasure to host the 20th Hanse Sail festival and with it more than 200 sailing ships of all types and sizes from a variety of countries. Many tall ships already arrived and where captured by our automatic AIS Live Cam at the Rostock Port entrance. Follow the event and the tracks of the sailing ships from anywhere in the world when they leave for day trips, for parades or squadron journeys on Fleetmon Hanse Sail, our superior vessel tracker!

Our Latest feature: Live Reports

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Do you know where a vessel is, or do you want to tell us where you saw one? Then use our new feature Live Reports – it’s easy!
Just go to the detail page of the vessel you are interested, scroll down to the Live Reports section (Vessel Status – What’s going on?) and click into the entry box. A drop down list will appear. Now just select Port Report, Position Report or Position Request and type in your information.
This is the best place to put your reports or requests as they are archived on the vessels detail page and you can view your favourite vessel any time you like.
So, please use

  • Live Reports for vessel position reports or requests
  • the Wiki for enduring information such as vessel build details, ownership, etc
  • the Forum for discussion topics

Update: Friday, 2010-07-30

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[+] new AIS antenna: Maledives, Malé
[+] new AIS antenna: Portugal, Lisbon
[+] new AIS antenna: USA, Jacksonville, Florida
[*] stronger, more reliable AIS stations in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg

… and many more to come in the next weeks, watch out!

[+] new Live Reports feature: Quickly report on ship accidents, irregularities and events of common interest! Let the world now what’s going on in just a second. Report positions outside AIS coverage. It’s twittering for Digital Seas!
[+] new “DS Vessel Search” plugin for Firefox: search for vessels like you do on Google!
[*] improved overall image quality, sorting out wrongly assigned images with the help of our tirelessly working Image Admin team
[*] improved member profile page: all contributions in a single compact view

Update: Friday, 2010-06-04

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[+] added new AIS antenna: UK, Strait of Dover
[+] added new AIS antenna: UK, around Ramsgate, (mobile)
[+] added new AIS antenna: NL, Terschelling
[+] added new AIS antenna: SP, Tenerife Island
[+] added new AIS antenna network: DK, North Sea, west of Denmark

[+] added search box for browser integration (get it from the start page)
[+] added color coding and list style for vessel search (cool, we think: got copied by VT in only a week :-) )
[+] added last Tracking, Vessels, Ports, Images list for logged in user, faster changing of section
[+] added thumbs up function, replacing image voting with stars
[+] added master image flag for vessel (available to ImageAdmins, 3min update time), representing image is shown with ‘star’
[-] removed pager on VesselDetailPage

[*] cleared up site structure
[*] fixed mobile api, still showing deleted images
[*] started coding on vessel data editor

Check out the new search layout

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We thought it was a good idea when Stevo wished for a better markup of search results.
So please find the new layout enabled for the search field and give us some feedback. Hope this will make your daily lookup a bit faster and more fun :-)

Update, 2010-06-04:
– new colorcoding system to distinct searchresults even better :-)
– checkout the search vessel browser integration



THANKS to all commenters!

ps. we really enjoy pushing the development of all vessel tracking sites :-) let’s see how fast we get copied this time

Server downtime this Sunday resolved

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A major DOS (denial of service) attack happened this morning around eight a clock and made the DS server unavailable for almost the complete day.
Whoever brought our servers on to its knees, it wasn’t appreciated at all and killed Thomas and Andres sunday.  Attacks happened over the last week in a regular matter, but today they where quiet hard.
Now we are back and will still have to spend some time with analyzing logs and checking the system.

We will anyway release  the long awaited user-message system tommorrow, so you all can get in touch with each other via Digital-Seas. We lost some time with this and a sunny day here in Rostock, but…

Who killed the voting star…?

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…Youtube did it and we’ve done it also.

Using the rainy day here in Rostock for some programming I decided to get rid of the two years of voting on our great images. People and their beloved photos are a very emotional and personell subject.
I always disliked the idea of taking images and getting in some kind of contest, due to the rating system. So why not simplify our lives and transform it into a way of still having the chance to express my “Favs” and leave all other images alone.

Almost 30.000 votes got converted to a more simplier system of: “like it, or leave it”. The vessels image thumbnail now has only one star left to honor the photographer. Show, that you are a fan of the photo. Thanks to the help of our friend Marcus and a little bit of AJAX you can also decide later on about your decision :-)
It will take another day of hacking to count the results and display them inside the stats icon, so hang on.

Let us know, if you like the new way here:

UPDATE: we replaced the STAR with a THUMBS UP icon (Stevos suggestion)

Vessel database now with more then 100.000 entries

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When started three years ago, we had a couple hundred ships listed, mainly tracked in the Southern Baltic. Our effort to build a good designed vessel list, which could constantly grow, has been a success.
With the great help of our members here at Digital-Seas, we’ve created one of the best free resources on the web, today crossing the mark of 100.000 vessels listed. Thanks for that! Read more…

new feature: watermarking your images

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we added a new way to secure your images against being published on the web by third parties, without beeing asked first. After some discussion in our forum and members asking for a solution, we came up with an automatic watermarking of images.

Since we do not accept uploaded images with interference of the vessels image, there is now an automatic way to secure your images with a switch, if you want to do so.

how to add a watermark to your image

how to add a watermark to your image

This will give people a chance to secure their images (possibly only part-time, when the newspapers are done with the next pirated vessel :-)
Everybody, who does not like a watermark on own images, check your profile page and unmark the option. We still prefer vessel images without extra watermarks in high resolution on this site. Willing to respect every copyright and listening to you, this is another step towards handling the copyright issues…

Effects, when text is given in your profile and switch is ON:
– no watermarks on small thumbnails in lists and preview thumb inside Fleetmon
– watermark is automatically rendered on vessel images in lightbox and preview mode
– your own preview of the uploaded image in full size will not be affected by the watermark, so you can happily continue using DS as your full size image store

Update: Friday, 2010-04-09

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– more then 35.000 users are registered
– more then 11.000 vessels in permanent AIS coverage
– more then 99.000 vessels in database
– more then 1.000 Fleetmon :mobile users

new AIS receptions:
[+] added new AIS antenna: Denmark: Fredericia
[+] added new AIS antenna: Sweden: Vänersborg
[+] added new AIS antennas: Belgium: Antwerp, Brussel, Zeebrugge
[+] added new AIS antenna: Netherland: Terschelling, Leeuwarden
[+] added new AIS antennas: Brazil: Sao Vicente, Salvador, Sao Lois
[+] added new AIS antenna: China: Tianjin Xin Gang
[+] added new AIS antenna: Indonesia: Kota Surabaya
[+] added new AIS antennas: Singapur: Johor, Kota Kinabalu Kuching Melaka Miri Port Dickson Port Kelang Tanjung Pelepas Singapore Jurong Island Keppel – (East Singapore) Pulau Bukum Pulau Sebarok Serangoon Harbor

Site changes:
[+] new image watermarking option in user profiles
[+] added vessel history to vessel-detail page
[*] added ETA in port arrival lists

[*] improved algorithm to determine vessel location (verbal)
[+] added inland rivers/ports in Europe for location detection
[*] much extended Fleetmon :mobile Version 1.2 released
[+] new Fleetmon :mobile page
[*] still working on vessel detail edit extension

We are always looking for new AIS coverage. If you could share a signal or establish a new antenna in your port of interest, let us know via: Contact