If you just wish to sharing your data with us and sending it to our database then you may only use a computer once (for configuring your AIS receiver). Upon configuration, it is possible to completely bypass the use of a PC even if your device doesn't have an ethernet port! Note that if you apply for a free AIS Receiver, then we may provide you with a high-quality unit that is pre-programmed to smoothly work in conjunction with MarineTraffic - a plug-n-play device that just needs to be connected to a VHF antenna, to your network port, and to a power supply!
However, depending on your setup and your needs, you may have to use special computer software. Such software can handle the decoding of the raw AIS messages and enable you to process your AIS data by yourself. Other than that, the most common cases that will require a PC equipped with AIS-related software are:
- your AIS Receiver only has a serial port and a serial-to-ethernet cable is unavailable
- you want to share your AIS data with other hosts/services as well
- you are using a VHF transceiver instead of an AIS receiver
- you have bandwidth consumption worries
- you are using an onboard AIS transponder
- you are already using special software
Below is a list of some computer programs you may use depending on your needs - click on any program's name to get more information about it and find download links or analytic guides on how to use each one in order to share your data with MarineTraffic!