In the context of greening the inland shipping industry I am analyzing GPS data on moving ships. For these ships I would like to separate the data for upstream/downstream movement (up/down river). This turns out to be less than straightforward.

I was wondering if someone might have a good idea of doing so.

The best I was able to come up with so far:

  • Make a list of GPS markers (manually) that tracks each (main) river and compare each ships location/motion with the markers: should work but marking the rivers/large open water sections might turn out to be impractical.
  • Look at the overall change in GPS location and see if the ship has moved towards/away from the source of the river: would be inaccurate for small ship trips and/or bendy rivers.

The first approach seemed promising to me but I wonder if one could somehow make use of existing maps and somehow use these?

Edit: The current plan is to extract waypoints for the typical ship-routes from a waterway map. These waypoints will have an id, the GPS lon/lat and the local upstream angle. To find out whether a ship is moving upstream we simply have to find the nearest waypoints and compare its angle of movement with that of the local upstream angle as given by the waypoint. I will let you know if we succeed and if so how.

closed as primarily opinion-based by nmtoken, Mapperz Dec 9 '16 at 22:25

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • You could use heading it is going to be included in the AIS message – risail Dec 9 '16 at 16:55
  • Do you mean the heading that has been entered by the captain? It turns out that these are not always accurate – balletpiraat Dec 12 '16 at 10:08
  • Commercial vessels are equipped with heading sensors this data is reported in the feed. It's not a manually process. – risail Dec 12 '16 at 10:34