Ranson’s site looks at everything from BC Ferries vessel locations to cars racing across Mongolia. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com

Ranson’s site looks at everything from BC Ferries vessel locations to cars racing across Mongolia. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com

Vancouver Island website tracks progress of Island-Class ferry and other vessels

Site creator ‘can’t resist programming’

A man from Patricia Bay is tracking the progress of the new Island-Class ferry bound for Campbell River as it makes its way through the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and up the west coast of North America before arriving in Victoria.

There’s a lot to explore on Jay Ranson’s website. While the position of the new ferry is interesting to people from Campbell River, people spending more than a few minutes on patbaywebcam.com can get lost in things like the rate of ice melt in Greenland, live lightning strikes in B.C., COVID-19 cases, freighters that are anchored in the Southern Gulf Islands, historical earth quakes and how to make sourdough bread in a day.

RELATED: New ferry for Campbell River – Quadra Island on its way under its own power

“When they were doing the blue bridge down in Victoria, I tracked all the ships that were supplying the steel for that. I’ve tracked cars racing across Mongolia, anything that somebody… once you get a response from people, they really appreciate knowing where their friends are and where their family is,” Ranson said. “We did one back just last year when the Coast Guard ship Jacques Cartier went from Victoria to Nova Scotia. I started exchanging emails with the captain and the family sitting there in Nova Scotia following the tracking, and it is just fun.

“Once you set up the templates and everything, it’s not such a big deal,” he added. “I can’t resist programming.”

To track vessels, Ranson uses data from public ship tracking websites. However, his subscription allows him to get more in depth than other people, which allows him to keep track of where the ships have been and to track them once they leave inshore areas. He also accesses live cameras of the Panama Canal when the vessel arrives in order to make a time-lapse video of the vessel as it passes from Atlantic to Pacific.

“You always get… opportunities on the passages to get some good time lapse videos. Of course that all depends on the weather, the conditions and the time of the day, which channel you go through. It’s kind of hit or miss,” he said. “I do a lot of post processing to try and get the best I can. Sometimes it’s just sort of a glimpse. People are happy with that. Otherwise they’d never see it.”

The data is archived on the site for future reference.

Ranson started the site around 20 years ago after a friend asked him where Coast Guard vessels go after they leave the port near his home.

“I said ‘what the heck, we’ll just track em,’” he said.

Over the past few decades, he has amassed quite a following of people who want his data for some reason or another.

“Then the windsurfers, kite surfers, pilots, it’s just unbelievable the number of people who have some reason to be interested in what’s going on out here,” he said. “I like to share it.”

Live tracking of the Island 3 vessel is available at http://patbaywebcam.com/island3.php.

RELATED: Campbell River city council backs BC Ferries move away from fossil fuels



marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

bc ferryCampbell RiverNewsvancouverisland

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Shanna Ramm of Mosaic is the first person to graduate with a Bachelor of Disability Management from Pacific Coast University-Workplace Health Sciences. Her convocation took place virtually on Dec. 1, 2020. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
PROGRESS 2021: Pacific Coast University celebrates with milestones

Alberni institution earns $6M return-to-work grant from province

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The rainbow flag flies beside the Canadian flag outside the University of the Fraser Valley’s Chilliwack campus on June 26, 2020. Monday, June 14, 2021 is Flag Day, and also June is Pride Month. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

Most Read