Guardacostas Pro: Tracking Illegal Vessels

Olivia Harne


Soon after the news of Esri’s partnership with Cyprus, the GIS software giant has found a new governmental purpose with Aeroterra S.A. and Argentina’s coast guard, or the Prefectura Naval Argentina. The goal? To utilize Esri’s platform to create a new, real-time tracking system, aptly titled “Guardacoastas Pro.” This system depends on signal processing and satellite imaging to watch ships for illegal operations like poaching in Argentina’s exclusive economic zone – or EEZ – and drug smuggling.

In 2018, the Guardacostas Pro system allowed Prefectura Naval to track down and secure a Spanish ship entering the EEZ, that was found attempting to return to international waters. Once captured, the Prefectura Naval discovered that this vessel had poached an estimated $380,000 worth of fish. The ship was brought back to port, impounded, and the crew was later fined. With this Guardacostas Pro system, Argentina has data to prove these accusations, allowing the prevention of such crimes.

Screenshot from Guardacostas Pro.
Screenshot from Guardacostas Pro.

Up until now, the Prefectura Naval’s main tool of enforcement had been patrolling and investigation of all ships. It’s expected that Guardacostas Pro will lessen these enforcement methods, gathering and transmitting valuable information on vessel type, speed, and location.

Dean Angelides – Esri’s head of international alliances and partners – stated – “The best way to effectively enforce laws over such a large scale as the EEZ is to know exactly where things are happening and when, and Argentina is now leading the way in data-driven public safety.”

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Due to Guardacostas Pro’s proven success at sea, it’s been implemented inland, becoming a multiagency tool aiding Argentina’s Ministry of Security – tracking operative units through tools like their mobile phones, radio equipment, and vehicles with location sensors.

View Esri’s original announcement here.

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Olivia Harne
Olivia Harne.