Which REST API is right for me (Messages or Vessels)?

We discuss the key differences between the Messages & Vessels APIs in this article

If REST API access is enabled on your account, you have access to all of our APIs. However, depending on your use case, one might be more desirable to use than the other.

Messages API

If you want to ingest our entire cleansed AIS data feed and perform the additional processing on your end, you should try the Messages API. We'd also recommend the Messages API for gauging Spire's overall AIS collection performance.

Vessels API

If you're interested in the most recent information Spire has on ships in which we have also vetted, you should try the Vessels API.

How do ships get vetted?

As you're probably aware, AIS isn't a perfect system:

  • Sometimes MMSIs, which are supposed to be unique sometimes get used by multiple ships.
  • Sometimes MMSI/IMO relationships change
  • Sometimes a ship periodically broadcasts nonsensical position information, etc. 

The Vessels API uses machine learning techniques to promote ships that have a track record for more consistent behavior and discount ships that report erratic data. We refer to these ships as vetted.