Global Fishing Watch.

Fishing transparency for ocean monitoring and analysis.

Global Fishing Watch enhances ocean governance by promoting transparency of human activities at sea through map visualizations, data sharing, and analysis tools, ultimately driving informed research and policy changes for a sustainable ocean future.

Turning big data into actionable information.

Global Fishing Watch.

The data doesn’t lie; convincing governments to act.

Tompkins Conservation overcame objections to creating Argentina's first-ever Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by using a video of Global Fishing Watch data. Supporters of the MPAs were able to prove there would be no adverse effect on the country’s fishing industry if they were established.

Tracking boat behaviors.

Using GPS data to detect patterns and identify illegal activity, from fishing in restricted areas to capturing endangered species or even human trafficking.

Ocean protection planning.

Harnessing the data and technology revolution to support the effective design, management, and monitoring of marine protected areas. Only 3% is a MPA; the aim is 10%.

Data-informed policy.

More and more countries are opening their fishing data to the system, creating deeper transparency and accountability.

Developing Global Fishing Watch.

The brief.

As the world’s first open, free, and accessible fishing monitoring tool, Global Fishing Watch is poised to change how we manage our fisheries. Working with SkyTruth, Oceana, and Google, the goal was to make analyzing global fishing efforts easier and faster and visually compellingly communicating the findings. For the platform's first version, the team looked to Vizzuality for support in creating a platform to fulfill this goal.

Our role.

With nearly 150,000 vessels to track and up to 100,000 data points being rendered simultaneously, we knew we’d have to use technology capable of supporting both fast performance and instant user interaction feedback. Skytruth delivered the data as highly efficient binary vector tiles, where points are clustered both in time and spatially. We took this tileset and used it with WebGL, a technology that allows websites to tap into the power of the graphics processing units (GPUs) inside our computers and phones.

Delivered with impact.

Complex data with an innovative design.

At the heart of Global Fishing Watch is a map that glows with the ebb and flow of nearly 150,000 fishing vessels traversing our oceans. Each dot represents a signal broadcast from one of those vessels. Visualizing the millions of data points they represent was a challenge that required innovative use of technology that’s normally associated with computer games. We designed and developed the first version of Global Fishing Watch, helping the GFW team land and establish themselves internally as they progressed the platform.


Responding to sea-level rise.

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