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

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read