Tracking the YWAM Medical Ship

A work in progress.

I have been involved with YWAM Medical Ships Australia  and YWAM Townsville for a while helping with software projects.  One project is tracking the medical ships, (Pacific Link and the new YWAM PNG) as they travel to and across PNG to provide medical services to the remote areas. The ship provides an excellent way to reach some of the most under-serviced areas of that country.  There are always volunteer  opportuinties so  visit YWAM Medical Ships Australia and find out more.

There have been many variations the how we have tracked and logged the ship location since the first visit to PNG. See the current location and map at Ship Locator


This version utilized the AIS Ship Identification and Location device, purpose written processing software, a HF radio email service, web server based email processing with the data logged on the server for map display and forwarded the Marine Traffic for logging there.


This version was based on a personal tracking device called SpotTracker. YWAM have used a number of these to track outreach teams, allowing location updates, SMS facilities, and SOS calls are available. The location is regularly sent to the host servers via satellite link and is available via API. The location was regularly polled and logged on the YWAM server for display in the live map.

A similar system to MK2 that used a tracking device to send regular location updates to the host servers. The host would provide updates as required.


This one never really got it right. The Satellite Internet device(s) also track the location for satellite dish control. The location data is sent to the company servers and then made availabe the the YWAM web site. A bug in the on-board device resulted in poor accuracy of the logged data.
This may be corrected with a firmware update and this system can be revisited.

MK5 – The Return Of AIS

This system used the AIS device again. Location data from the device was intercepted by a software program on board the ship and sent via email to a server for logging. The YWAM Ship web site map can be updated from the logged location data.