View Map of Real-Time Ship Traffic in the New York Harbor

Live Ships Map is a web-based vessel traffic and position system that displays the real-time map location of passenger ships, cargo vessels, tankers, tugs and other craft. This academic, community-based project collects data from AIS transponders that all vessels, which have a 300 gross tonnage or greater, must use to transmit their GPS coordinates.

The Live Ships Map displays the locations of vessels from around the globe. You can select the New York port to view current ship traffic in the harbor. The following screen shot shows vessel activity in the Upper Bay of the NY port on a Sunday morning:

Marine Traffic Map New York Harbor

Marine Traffic Map - New York Harbor - Upper Bay

On the left-hand side of the Live Ships Map is a legend that indicates the color for each vessel type. You can place checkmarks next to different types of vessels to indicate which ships you want to view on the map:

Marine Traffic - Map Legend

Marine Traffic - Map Legend

Identifying Vessels

To learn about a specific vessel, click on its colored icon. A pop-up window will open with summary information. In the below screen shot, I have clicked on the US-flagged cargo ship Maersk Virginia:

Vessel Traffic Map - Ship ID

Vessel Traffic Map - Ship ID

From this vessel info pop-up window, you can access a detailed ship profile:

Marine Traffic Position - Ship Profile

Marine Traffic Position - Ship Profile

And you can view the vessel’s track through the harbor. As the following map shows, the Maersk Virginia entered the NY port via the Ambrose Channel and then took the Kill Van Kull to Newark Bay:

Vessel Traffic Map - Navigation Track

Vessel Traffic Map - Navigation Track

Live Ships Map with Google Earth

You can also view the Live Ships Map in Google Earth, a free 3D map application. Once you install Google Earth, visit the Google Earth page on Marine Traffic and click on the link for “Open the Google Earth file of MarineTraffic.” You can then zoom into the New York harbor to view the Live Ships Map. I took a screen shot of lower Manhattan on a workday morning. The blue vessels are passenger ferry boats from Staten Island and New Jersey:

Marine Traffic on Google Earth - Lower Manhattan

Marine Traffic on Google Earth - Lower Manhattan

View Marine Traffic on Mobile Devices

To view the Live Ships Map with your mobile device, visit the following address: http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/m/mob_menu.html. You can view ports and ship traffic around the globe and monitor traffic in the New York port, as I have done with my iPhone:

Marine Traffic for Mobile Devices

Marine Traffic for Mobile Devices

About Doug Fox

Doug Fox is a New York City tour guide, urban explorer and waterfront enthusiast. Email Doug at: nyctransported [at] gmail [.] com