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Modeling Ship Movements: Application for Noise Exposure to the Marine Ecosystem

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    Rosaline Canessa University of Victoria

Exploring and improving the use and modelling of ship traffic, as an indicator of noise, to enable government, industry and, even individuals, make better decisions to mitigate marine noise impacts.

As of June 2016, this project has:

  • Developed methodology and scripts to process large volumes of vessel traffic data from exactEarth and make them available to MEOPAR researchers; Developed a methodology for collecting vessel information from aerial surveys. 
  • Analyzed large volumes of acoustic information from hydrophones deployed in the Amundsen Gulf, and the SK-B MPA to assess the percentage of vessels detected by hydrophone versus detected by AIS, and as well as determine the presence of marine mammals in the area. 
  • Organized two workshops with SK-B MPA managers and stakeholders to present preliminary results. Established and broadened outreach connections in Sachs Harbour and Salish Sea to improve general public literacy on ocean noise. 
  • Organized a workshop on contemporary AIS analysis techniques to promote knowledge on AIS-based traffic modeling, and to network with other practitioners 
  • Shared recreational boating from UVic to Port of Metro Vancouver to validate cumulative noise exposure model for Salish Sea
  • Increased awareness of vessel traffic in SK-B MPA by Haida Nation and DFO. 
  • Confirmed interest in collaboration between NEMES project and Scottish institutions including Heriot-Watt University; Edinburgh-Napier University, University of Aberdeen, University of Aberdeen, St. Andrews University, and Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland.
  • Initiated a ‘community of practice’ related to ocean noise through the Whales and Noise Workshop with two other noise-related MEOPAR-funded projects aimed at knowledge exchange. As the focal project for MEOPAR AIS-related projects, interaction between shipping-relevant projects is notable, and increasing.
  • Continued collaboration and exchange of expertise, data and tools among Canessa, Taggart and Dupras teams.


  • Community of Sachs Harbour
  • Community of Amundsen Gulf
  • ESRI Canada
  • exactEarth
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada - IOS - Pacific
  • JASCO Applied Sciences
  • Port Metro Vancouver


  • Rodolphe Devillers Memorial University
  • Stan Matwin Dalhousie University
  • Patrick O'Hara University of Victoria: Environment Canada
  • Ronald Pelot MEOPAR
  • Svein Vagle University of Victoria


  • Ainsley Allen University of Victoria
  • Casey Hilliard Dalhousie University
  • Lauren McWhinnie University of Victoria


  • Hilliard,Casey,Matwin,Stan,Soleimani, B.H.; De Souza, E.N.. 2015, "Anomaly detection in maritime data based on geometrical analysis of trajectories,", Information Fusion (Fusion), 18th International Conference on , vol., no., pp.1100-1105,
  • Hilliard,Casey,Matwin,Stan,Bo Liu; De Souza, E.N.. 2015, "Ship movement anomaly detection using specialized distance measures," , Information Fusion (Fusion), 18th International Conference on , vol., no., pp.1113-1120, ,
  • Canessa,Rosaline,O'Hara,Patrick,Williams,Rob,A.J. Wright, E. Ashe, L.K. Blight, R. Bruintjes, C.W. Clark, S. Cullis-Suzuki, D.T. Dakin, C. Erbe, P.S. Hammond, N.D. Merchant, J. Purser, A.N. Radford, S.D. Simpson, L. Thomas, M.A. Wale. 2015, Impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine life: Publication patterns, new discoveries, and future directions in research and management, Ocean & Coastal Management , 115:17-25,
  • Insley,Steve ,Halliday, W., de Jong, T. 2017, Seasonal patterns in ocean ambient noise near Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, Arctic, 16-155,
  • Canessa,Rosaline,McWhinnie,Lauren,O'Hara,Patrick,Serra-Sogas,Norma,Leh Smallshaw. 2017, The Grand Challenge in Researching Marine Noise Pollution from Vessels: A Horizon Scan for 2017, Frontiers in Marine Science, 4 : 31,10.3389/fmars.2017.00031.

This research is exploring and improving the utility and modeling of ship traffic, based on AIS and other data, as an indicator of noise to enable government, industry and, even individuals, make better decisions to mitigate marine noise impacts.