Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - ARGOMARINE (Automatic Oil-Spill Recognition and Geopositioning integrated in a Marine Monitoring Network)

Executive summary:

4.1 Final publishable summary report

4.1.1.- Executive Summary.

The concept of the ARGOMARINE Project is the monitoring of the marine traffic due to carriers and commercial ships through environmental sensitive sea areas. This monitoring will be realized by means of sophisticated electronic, geopositioning, and telematic tools connected through a high speed network along with data transmission through suitable data links. Data from different sources will be collected in an independent and remote fashion and sent to a main acquisition and elaboration central unit. Motivation and scope of the ARGOMARINE project is the safe detection, notification and interventions on vessels in emergency situation and the protection of sea and insular environment, endangered by heavy and continuous activities, mainly due to intensive ship traffic, generating a consistent pollution risk. The envisaged goal is connected to the necessity of precise and punctual pollution control in areas and shores which are, for instance, of particular naturalistic value, and/or are exposed to risk of accidental or even intentional contamination due to their vicinity to industrial or highly densely populated settlements, or crossed by a heavy ship traffic.

Project Context and Objectives:

4.1.2.- Summary description of project context and objectives.

The scope of the proposed ARGOMARINE Project is to develop and test an integrated system for monitoring of the marine traffic and pollution events due to carriers/commercial ships as well as recreational boats through environmental-sensitive sea areas. The integrated system is used to monitor ship traffic and marine operations in areas with intense ship traffic and high risk of pollution as well as, for effective interventions in case of maritime accidents. This monitoring is implemented by means of electronic, geopositioning, and tools for transmitting ship navigation data through a high speed communication network.

4.1.2.1.- ARGOMARINE: the Rationale
Short Sea Shipping is a central part of the logistics chain for transport in Europe, delivering nearly 40% of the total tonne-kilometres per year, only superseded by road transport with 44% (EC, 2006). Between 1995 and 2004 the transport in this sector increased by 32% in EU-25 countries, and while increase in sea transport can be desirable from an economic point of view, it places a growing burden on the marine and coastal zone environment due to the risk of pollution.

Some ocean areas are particularly exposed to such risks. For example, in the Mediterranean Sea the oil transport is intense, since it gives maritime way to Europe, for the oil produced in Middle East, in the Northern Africa and in Caspian basins. According to Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC, 2002), ship traffic through Mediterranean basin daily consists of 2,000 ferries, 1,500 freight ships and 2,000 commercial crafts, 300 of them are tankers, and approx. 370 million tons of oil and refined products is transported annually through Mediterranean Sea, representing 20-25% of the world total. Maritime traffic in the Mediterranean is characterized by the existence of a large number of ports in the region (more than 300), and by a significant volume of traffic that transits the Mediterranean, without ships entering any of these ports. The East Mediterranean Sea is a high-risk area for pollution as the Black, Red and Mediterranean Seas are interconnected.

Due to very high marine traffic density, Mediterranean Sea is often quoted as one of the places in world with the highest risk of oil pollution. Transportation of large quantities of crude oil and refined products, narrow and congested straits through which ships enter and exit the Mediterranean, large number of ports, large number of islands especially in certain areas with high traffic density are increasing the risk of oil pollution in the region. Thus, decision-makers in this region have a strong need for an efficient pollution monitoring and forecasting system, which supports them in planning and conducting preventive and emergency interventions. Such system must provide timely and reliable access to all available observations and forecasts for the area of interest, and seamlessly integrate these as well as software for analysis, decision-support and dissemination.

4.1.2.2.- Overall and specific objectives
The overall objective of the ARGOMARINE project have been connected to the development and test of a Marine Information System (MIS) capable of providing precise and punctual pollution control in coastal zone areas with vulnerable or protected habitats, and/or are exposed to risk of accidental or intentional contamination due to their vicinity to industrial or highly densely populated settlements, or crossed by a heavy ship traffic.

The specific objectives of the project have been:

1. Development and combination of marine observing technologies (satellite, airborne, vessel-mounted sensors along with stand-alone sensors on autonomous buoys, AUV) for more reliable detection and monitoring of hydrocarbon/oil spills in marine environment, in support of preventive and emergency interventions;
2. Development and testing of a pre-operational high resolution mathematical modelling system to forecast hydrodynamic conditions and prediction of oil slick spreading during emergency situations as part of an early warning system;
3. Design and test of an infrastructure able to make the necessary environmental and situational information available to local managers and decision makers within a short response time.
4. Implementation of a geo-positioning/tracking system for ship traffic monitoring based on the integration of AIS with ARGOMARINE technology, so acting as an intelligent transponder through either satellite platforms or ground-based stations;
5. Design and implementation of an integrated data transmission network ensuring high speed/high volume communication with ships, sensor-equipped platforms, including vessels, aeroplanes, helicopters, satellites, autonomous floating buoys, and AUVs;
6. Building and testing of a MIS (Marine Information System) comprised of distributed, interoperable systems for data transmission, data mining and analysis, decision-support and data dissemination to end-users, designed with a component based architecture that can form the foundation of other environmental applications like anti-fire forestry protection and wetland habitat monitoring;
7. Testing the sensor platforms and validating developed algorithms and systems in carefully designed test scenarios where the capabilities of the devised solutions will be assessed, and feedback used to improve their reliability and accuracy;
8. Disseminate regularly towards key end-users such as EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency), National Parks and other institutions managing protected areas, and organise a dedicated workshop on marine pollution to reach a wider audience in the marine community;
9. Prepare recommendations and plans for post-project exploitation of ARGOMARINE products and services.

4.1.2.3.- ARGOMARINE: the project breakdown
The work plan is organized in eleven scientific and technological Workpackages, including dissemination and exploitation and of the results, and project management, which outline the methodology and the evolution of the project considering both its functional and architectural aspects. The WP articulation has been the following:
- WP1 (SAR imaging and analysis) is dedicated to imaging, and analysis by using SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar). Long term SAR data will come from satellite-hosted platforms. Meanwhile, new methods have been implemented and tested for detection of oil spills and classification of surface phenomena in multipolarisation high-resolution SAR images.
- WP2 (Hyperspectral-Thermal Analysis) concerns with hyperspectral and thermal infrared image analysis (by using CASI-Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager, spectroradiometer, TABI thermal airborne broadband imager, and satellite image if available), Airborne sensors were operated and hosted on mobile platforms (helicopter/airplanes). Appropriate methodology and algorithms have been developed for oil spill type and thickness detection. Hyperspectral and thermal analysis have been supported by in-situ measurements. The methodology was be tested and evaluated through project test activities.
- WP3 (Electronic Nose) was devoted to the application of Electronic Nose technology to the monitoring of oil/hydrocarbons spills in marine environment. E-nose technology was adapted to this specific goal, and the sensor have been engineered to be remotely controlled, hosted both on an autonomous buoy and aboard of a AUV.
- WP4 (Underwater Monitoring Technologies) was dedicated to the development of underwater monitoring technologies to be used for both preventive action to detect possible unauthorized access to a sensitive protected area (i.e., a marine park), and environmental monitoring and post-accident action to detect and localize oil spillage in a confined area by using AUVs.
- In the WP5 (Mathematical Modelling) a mathematical modelling system have been setup and applied to the study sites. The system was linked to external operational forecast data products already available for the Mediterranean Sea. Such a modelling is be strictly linked with MIS and its Decision Support System.
- Through the WP6 (The ARGO-Geomatrix Platform and the integrated communication system) the ARGO-Geomatrix platform was developed. The purpose had been to set up and realize a telecommunication infrastructure able to:
1) guarantee efficient transport of general purpose information through means of propagation,
2) give full support to several communication devices, high level protocols, and
3) give full and accurate information about the position of each operator (either prepared specialists or casual user) in the End-User (PNAT and NMPZ partners) context (environment).
- In WP7 (The Marine Information System) the implementation of an integrated Marine Information System (MIS) has be approached. Obtained heterogeneous information spatially and temporally distributed, were merged and elaborated through an information system where remote sensing data, field experiment results, and estimates from simulation models are integrated, and tools for data storage and retrieval, data manipulation and analysis, as well as for presentation, are available through a common interface.
- In WP8 (Test and Field Validation), test activity has been carried out. Both static and dynamic were collected. Tests of the various sensor platforms have been performed during the overall length of the ARGOMARINE Project. During the first phase of the project the test activity was carried out in an independent fashion by each group involved, in order to evaluate their analytical characteristics, while, during 3rd year, final integrated test exercises were carried out on the overall system, in real operational situations.
- Dissemination and exploitation of project results have been faced in the WP9 (Dissemination and Exploitation of Project Results): specific actions were set up, along with a workshop and a media-broadcast campaign, in order to promote the achievements of ARGOMARINE. Multiple disseminating actions have been carried out at local, national and international level. Results of the project have been disseminated through different channels.
- Project Management is described in the WP10 and WP11, aiming at a cost-effective development of technical and scientific activities, preventing and overcoming critical situations from both technical, and financial/administrative points of view, and finally ensuring the respect of all obligations of the consortium regarding procedures and deadlines.

Project Results:

4.1.3.- Description of the main Science and Technology (S&T) results/foregrounds

ARGOMARINE has focused its activities on a pluri-disciplinary approach and the main technological achievements of this project are summarised in the following sections.


4.1.3.1.- Spaceborne SAR imaging and analysis
Oil spills seriously affect the marine ecosystem and cause political and scientific concern since they have serious effects on fragile marine and coastal ecosystem. The amount of pollutant discharges and associated effects on the marine environment are important parameters in evaluating sea water quality. Satellite images can improve the possibilities for the detection and monitoring of oil spills as they cover large areas and offer an economical and easier way of continuous coastal areas patrolling.

The project focus on two study areas: (1) the Tuscan Arhipelago (Italy) and (2) the Zakynthos Island (Greece). The National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago includes seven islands unique for climate, flora, fauna, history and legend: Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri and Gorgona. They are characterized by diversified natural environments, created by a rather complex geological history. The National Marine Park of Zakynthos is established in December 1999 with the purpose to protect and conserve the most important loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting beaches in the Mediterranean, a population of Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus), resident and migratory bird species and rare and endemic plants.

The most commonly used remotely sensed system to detect ocean pollution is Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery. SAR images have the unique capability to observe the sea surface independent of clouds and daylight, although there is limitation in the detection capability during very low and very high wind speeds (Brekke and Solberg, 2005). SAR systems detect spills on the sea surface indirectly, through the modification that oil spills cause on the wind generated short gravity–capillary waves (Alpers, 1989). The oil film damps these waves, which are the primary backscatter agents of the radar signals. Consequently, provided that a moderate wind field is present, an oil spill appears dark on SAR imagery in contrast to the surrounding clean sea. However, dark areas may be also caused by other phenomena, like locally low winds, currents or natural sea slicks called "look-alikes" (Hovland et al., 1994). Besides its shape, wind and currents conditions, both at the time of the identified slick and the recent history, are key parameters in determining whether the slick is a likely oil spill or caused by some natural phenomenon. Obtaining simultaneous wind and currents data will thus significantly improve the detection and classification accuracy.

There are several Earth Observation (EO) satellites currently in orbit transmitting data applicable to oil spill and ship detection. When selecting sensor and image mode for oil spill or ship detection in the ARGOMARINE project, several factors have to be considered, such as, spatial resolution, area coverage and temporal resolution. Several satellite sensors have been used in the ARGOMARINE project, among others ENVISAT ASAR (Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar), TerraSAR-X and RADARSAT-2. These sensors offer multi-polarisation radar imagery that has been used to develop new algorithms for oil spill detection and classification in the ARGOMARINE project.

Generally oil spill detection in SAR images can be divided into three phases (Brekke and Solberg, 2005):
1. Dark area detection – aimed at detecting the suspected polluted area.
2. Feature extraction – aimed at extracting features for each dark area.
3. Classification – aimed at classifying, with a certain probability, whether the suspected dark area is an oil spill.

Following these three phases, a methodology for estimation of oil spill density in an area has been developed in the project:
1- The images covering the both study areas and have good examples of potential oil spills were selected by a satellite radar image specialist inspecting quick-looks available through satellite providers' archives.
2- The selected images were stored in a database according to id number data, time, orbit and polarization.
3- The oil spill detection algorithm was applied for all the images (feature extraction).
4- Low wind areas were filtered away and only dark features with high potential to be oil spill were left (classification).
5- Since the algorithm creates polygons features, these features were converted to points (the centroid of a polygon) and a point map was create for each area.
6- A density maps were created using a point density tool in Arc GIS.

4.1.3.2.- Vessel detection and tracking
4.1.3.2.1.- SAR-based automatic vessel detection: a further achievement of spaceborne satellite imagery analysis is the automatic vessel detection in the target areas of interest. Satellite images can improve the possibility for the detection and monitoring of vessels as they cover large areas and offer an economical and easier way, comparing to the continuous patrol and monitoring of coastal and open-sea areas. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems have been extensively used for the ships in the marine environment. A very important characteristic of SAR-based vessel monitoring systems is the day-and-night operation and their independence from the cloud coverage and weather conditions.

Maritime surveillance generally involves a trade-off between resolution and coverage. Higher resolution allows for higher probabilities of detection, especially for smaller ships, but it comes at the cost of narrower swath widths and longer revisiting times. The coarsest resolution which still allows good probabilities of detection is chosen, so that coverage is maximised.

Also, SAR imagery is sensitive to surface winds and in severe conditions even large ships may not be visible. Likewise ship construction material is relevant and small wooden or fibreglass boats are often not visible.

SAR space imagery analyses for vessel detection, in the two study areas have been studied. SUMO (Search for Unidentified Marine Objects) is an efficient software tool for satellite imagery vessel detection developed by Partner JRC. It fulfills the purposes and targets of vessel detection in SAR images. SUMO software developed by the JRC was used as the main vessel detection tool in automatic or semi-automatic mode and whenever needed has been assisted by human inspection/verification.

In brief, the vessel detection methodology consists of the following steps:
1. Image preprocessing / calibration / registering
2. Land masking
3. Constant False Alarm Rate (CFAR) vessel detector
4. Clustering of the detected pixels
5. Discrimination of the false alarms

The locations of the detected vessels have been reported and the areas with the highest vessel density have been identified. The density has been accounted in terms of spatial and temporal concentration locating the so-called "hot spots", in the test areas of the project. All the detected vessels (location and time) and the potential detected oil spills (location and time) are stored in the Marine Information System (MIS) database. Querying this database for a detected oil spill (location and time) it is possible to associate the oil spill with the vessels detected for that location and time and when combined with AIS data, to identify the potential polluter.

4.1.3.2.2.- Automatic vessel tracking via AIS Data Acquisition: routines for automatic collection and processing of vessel Automatic Identification System data have been developed within ARGOMARINE activity. The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated tracking system used on ships and by Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and VTS stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport. The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires AIS to be fitted aboard international voyaging ships with gross tonnage (GT) of 300 or more tons and all passenger ships regardless of size. It is estimated that more than 40,000 ships currently carry AIS class A equipment. In 2007, the new Class B AIS standard was introduced which enabled a new generation of low cost AIS transceivers. AIS is intended to assist a vessel's surveillance officers and allow maritime authorities to track and monitor vessel movements.

4.1.3.3.- Hyperspectral – Thermal Analysis
The main Science and Technology (S&T) results and achievements of this activity were:
1. A spectral library of oil-spill types based on ground spectroradiometer measurements. The potentials of the spectroscopy for oil type detection and oil spill thickness estimation have been investigated.
2. Evaluation of thermal imagery for oil-spill detection
3. Development of a hyperspectral methodology for near real time oil spill and vessel detection, as well as, oil spill type and thickness estimation through the implementation of the ARGOMARINE field experiments.
4. Development of a hyperspectral methodology for building a spectral library for the marine environment using hyperspectral imagery.
5. Development of a Hyperspectral image compression algorithm.
6. Development of a multispectral methodology for oil-spill detection.

4.1.3.3.1.- Spectral library of oil-spill types based on field spectroradiometer measurements: Different oil types have been collected for the experiments: kerosene, heating, crude, heavy, and marine fuel oil. The laboratory experiments included spectro-radiometric measurements, using a GER-1500 spectroradiometer, of the oil samples at different time intervals and for various oil slick thicknesses (1μm, 10μm, 50μm, 100μm, and 200μm). The measurements of the weathering state of the floating oil lasted 5 days and were repeated every day at 12.30pm, for the oil slick thickness layer of 200μm.

Using the laboratory spectral measurements an oil spectral library has been developed. Observations and analysis of oil spectral signatures showed that some spectral characteristics of oil are kept constant and can be discerned from water. Reflectance is rising from light to heavy oils at the spectral range of 308.96 nm – 367.84 nm for the whole duration of the experiments. The reflectance values of the oil types were ordered as follows: RWATER less than RKEROSENE less than RHEATING OIL less than RCRUDE OIL less than RHEAVY FUEL less than RMARINE FUEL OIL.

4.1.3.3.2- Thermal imagery for oil-spill detection: Laboratory experiments with a TROTEC IC060 thermal camera were carried out. The highest difference in temperature between water and crude oils (for 200μm oil-spill thickness) was observed at 2-3.30 am. Crude oils with 200μm thickness have greater temperatures than water and they can be safely discriminated from water. Oil-spills cannot be detected in thermal images when their thickness is lower than 10μm. In this case they present the same temperatures with clean water.

Nine ASTER images were acquired for oil-spill detection. 5 ASTER bands with 90m spatial resolution are available in the Thermal InfraRed (TIR) spectral region. The wavelength of ASTER TIR images ranges from 8.125 to 11.650 μm. 12 oil-spills were depicted in these images according to the JRC reference data. After the appropriate processing only 1 of the 12 oil-spills has been detected and verified. 11 oil-spills were not detected and one oil-spill look alike was detected as possible oil-spill.

4.1.3.3.3.- Development of a hyperspectral methodology for near real time oil spill and vessel detection, as well as, oil spill type and thickness estimation. Implementation of field experiments: On the 14th of December 2011 the 1st ARGOMARINE test experiment has been carried out around the Zakynthos island. During the test experiment, the NTUA acquired airborne hyperspectral imagery using the CASI-550 hyperspectral sensor of the Remote Sensing Laboratory of the NTUA. Images for two test areas have been acquired. The first was a seawater area at the north of Zakynthos over a dense shipway path, and the second was the seawater area of Laganas bay, which is at the southern part of Zakynthos. In this bay a natural non-continuant submarine oil outflow exists, resulting in the appearance of natural oil-spills on the sea surface. During the test experiment inside the Laganas bay, a thin natural oil-spill of small spatial extent has been observed.

4.1.3.3.4.- Development of a hyperspectral methodology for building a spectral library for the marine environment The methodology exploits the spectral signatures that are extracted from time series of hyperspectral datasets in order to build and update a Spectral Library (SL) for the marine environment under real biophysical conditions. This spectral library has great potentials to adequately describe the complex marine environment. The use of such a SL could contribute not only to a very detailed detection, identification and quantification of oil-spills, but also to advanced monitoring and management of the marine environment.

4.1.3.3.5.- Development of a Hyperspectral image compression algorithm Hyperspectral data are images with extensive volume size, which can range up to several dozen of GB. For fast hyperspectral data transmission it is essential to develop a hyperspectral image compression technique, which achieves high compression ratios and high Signal to Noise Ratios (SNR). A new algorithm for near lossless compression of hyperspectral imagery (HIS) has been developed. It is a hybrid algorithm, called H-UNPCA (Hybrid Unmixing PCA), which uses the spectral unmixing procedure and Principal Component Analysis, combined with a lossless generic coding algorithm. The algorithm was applied on 8 HSIs: 4 CASI (airborne), and 4 Hyperion (spaceborne) images.

4.1.3.3.6.- Development of a multispectral methodology for oil-spill detection: Various very high resolution IKONOS, QuickBird, RapidEye and WorldView2 multispectral images of Beirut (Lebanon), an area with known oil-spill events, have been purchased in order to develop a methodology for oil-spill detection. Furthermore, multispectral RapidEye images of the island of Zakynthos have also been purchased in order to apply and test the methodology in an area that is known to have frequent natural oil-spill occurrences.

The methodology relied on the following photo-interpretation and image analysis results:
- Oil-spill occurrence appears generally brighter than seawater in the visible bands of the multispectral images.
- Between 660 and 760 nm (upper red to near infrared region) is the best region for oil-spill identification through photo-interpretation. Within this region the sea bottom interference is eliminated while the oil-spill appears significantly brighter than seawater. However attention should be given for not confusing oil-spills with clouds.
- In deep waters (no bottom reflectance) the blue-green region is the best for identifying the oil-spill occurrence.
- Discrimination of seawater and oil-spill solely based on their brightness difference is not possible.
- The oil-spill occurrence areas have significantly higher local standard deviation values due to the glint effect and therefore they can be highlighted using a local standard deviation filter. This is extremely useful in case that agitated seawater is presented in the image.
- In case of rough sea, the application of a Gaussian smoothing filter can significantly improve the oil-spill identification.
- The oil-spill occurrence areas show lower values in the [blue band] / [green band] ratio and the [blue band] / [red band] ratio than water and chlorophyll-a concentrations.

The best method to incorporate all of the above observations for oil-spill detection is the use of Object Based Image Analysis (OBIA). The image segmentation, which is the first step in OBIA, creates image objects for which all of the above criteria can be calculated and used to classify the image.

In summary the methodology for the very high resolution multispectral images includes the following steps:
1. Image geocoding.
2. Conversion of the raw image digital numbers to Top of the Atmosphere reflectance and application of relative radiometric normalization on all the subject images towards a reference.

Or
Application of ATCOR3 atmospheric corrections and conversion of the raw image digital numbers to surface reflectance values.
3. Masking of the non-sea areas, i.e. land and clouds.
4. Image multiresolution segmentation in two levels (fine and coarse).
5. Oil-spill detection based on object based classification rules for the previously mentioned observations.

4.1.3.4.- Electronic Nose
The CNR-IFC (Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica), involved in the project ARGOMARINE, realized an E-Nose technology-based smart system, aiming to detect the presence of hydrocarbons, one of the most dangerous pollutants for marine environment, in sea water. The smart system realized within the Work Package 3 employs an array of sensors capable to detect various kinds of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the air. This is related to hydrocarbons' pollution because, with this approach, it's possible to detect the odorous compounds produced by these substances in the air overhanging sea water. The sensors chosen for this purpose are of the type piD (Photo Ionization Detectors), which are characterized by good performances and, as a drawback, a not negligible cost.

4.1.3.5.- Underwater Monitoring Technologies
The task of Underwater Monitoring Technologies concerns the design of two main subsets:
1. a passive acoustic monitoring system for the detection, localization and classification of surface vessels in a peculiar and confined area of interest (e.g., marine parks)
2. autonomous sensing technologies which exploit marine robotics system for real time in situ measurements

4.1.3.5.1.- Acoustic Monitoring In order to track and identify possible sources of pollution in marine park areas, maritime traffic needs to be carefully monitored. Nowadays, the presence of large ships can be accurately monitored either by radar or via AIS system, while small vessels, in particular inflatable boats, which have very weak radar signature, may be easily missed by usual monitoring systems. Continuous passive underwater acoustic monitoring of vessels from a network of distributed underwater sensor stations is envisaged to be a valuable approach as an additional, complementary tool with respect to other remote sensing systems such as SAR or radar.

4.1.3.5.2.- Algorithm design and implementation The automatic detection, tracking and classification system is requested to work in a robust and accurate way for any kind of vessel, not a-priori known.

The acoustic signatures of small- to mid-sized surface vessels (ranging from rubber boats to fishing boats and tugs) are much less investigated in literature than those of slow, big ships, and can be extremely diverse. As well, the classification among categories of small- to mid-sized boats is not reported in literature, apart from sporadic exceptions.

4.1.3.5.3.- Integration of the e-nose into a FOLAGA Autonomous vehicle: The final aim of ARGOMARINE is the detection, notification and intervention on vessel in emergency situation; this project is extended to various and different technology sectors, starting from the satellite observing to fixed detector of contaminating substances.

"eFolaga" Autonomous Underwater Vehicle features in particular for what pertains standard vehicle performances as an application for a re-locatable platform working stationary during air sampling at sea.

Such an autonomous vehicle is capable of performing different missions, from standard propelled trajectories, both above and underwater, to more sophisticated glider missions.

The goal of this task was the integration of an electronic nose into an autonomous vehicle; this sensor equipped vehicle will perform some missions in order to monitor a defined area supposed to be in contamination danger.

In order to provide a wider spectrum of "eFolaga" sampling module potential installations, a set of three different sea autonomous platforms have been explored to compare their dynamic response in the waves to preserve the optimal smelling distance while avoiding the risk of flooding the measuring chamber:
1. torpedo like vehicle: the GRAALTECH eFolaga
2. catamaran vehicle: the Sea Robotic Corporation USV2600
3. wave glider: the Liquid Robotics Wave Glider

4.1.3.5.4.- Investigation of the most appropriate strategies for the environment characterization Networking is one of the new paradigms brought by UUV technology to observational oceanography. A wide range of spatiotemporal scales of variability are better characterized in vast ocean areas by a network of ocean observing platforms. The sampling strategy can be made more cost effective if the motion of all or part of the platforms is controllable. Under this circumstance, the structure of the network is dynamic and it may be partially modified depending on needs.

For a given sampling strategy, the number of platforms required by a network with controllable motion platforms is substantially less than if nodes were fixed. However, UUV technology does not substitute but complement other sampling technologies. This is the case of Eulerian observatories. These infrastructures provide sustained observations of different bio-geophysical parameters with high temporal resolution. Unfortunately, their spatial resolution is poor unless an unfeasible number of observatories is considered. Exploiting synergism with UUV measurements is of particular interest in this context.

4.1.3.5.5.- Integration of the marine sensors with the ARGOMARINE MIS The processing results, in terms of vessel tracks and types, along with the e-nose positioning and status data coming from Folaga AUV, are sent to the central ARGOMARINE MIS for display and possible further fusion with other monitoring data.

4.1.3.6.- Mathematical modelling
The main achievement of this activity was to develop a mathematical modelling system to predict oil spill evolution in case of accidents. In order to accomplish that purpose, a combination of mathematical models was developed for the study area. That system is composed by 3 levels of nested 3D hydrodynamic models with increasing resolution coupled to a wave model and an oil spill model. The entire system runs in operational mode assimilating data from external operational data systems. It is managed by a centralized tool which performs the pre-processing and post-processing operations automatically and publishes the forecasted results. The various components of the modelling framework are described in the sections below:

4.1.3.6.1.- System of nested 3D hydrodynamic models A local system of nested 3D hydrodynamic models was implemented for the study site. The MOHID model was setup using 3 levels of nested sub models. The entire assembled set was run to produce scenarios for summer and winter situations. Additionally, a review of the known oceanographic characteristics of the region was performed and the results obtained with the model were interpreted in the light of these characteristics. The comparisons enabled to identify the basic oceanographic patterns known for the region. Further comparisons with an independent model (MERCATOR Ocean) were performed for specific dates showed similar results despite of the differences between modelling system and forcing.

4.1.3.6.2.- Implementation of a wave model: A wave model system for the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea was created using the Simulating WAves Nearshore model (SWAN). The framework was setup using two nested grids of increasing resolution. At first, preliminary validation of the model outputs was performed through comparisons with the results found in the available literature.

Second, a more robust validation was performed comparing the outputs of the wave model system implemented with results obtained by previously validated and independent wave using forcing and bathymetry other than those used in this study. The results obtained showed the ability of the model to simulate the wave sea state during a winter period of more than a month including three different storm episodes in the region. The comparisons with the independent model show generally a good agreement. The picture presents a snapshot of the model results.

4.1.3.6.3.- Multi-mesh Lagrangian transport oil model: A multi-mesh Lagrangian transport algorithm was developed and used for the Implementation of an oil model for the study site. A new lagrangian model was created, enabling the transport of lagrangian particles over an unlimited number of nested meshes running simultaneously and concurrently in the same geographic region. The ability to use curvilinear grids and a more intuitive and simplified input structure was also developed. Testing examples were performed to evaluate the multi-mesh functionality.

The examples show that the methodology developed is adequate; the particles cross between models without any discontinuity and are able to jump between lower priority and higher priority domains and vice-versa. The oil module was adapted to the new structure of the Lagrangian model.

4.1.3.6.4.- Integration of the model components with external operational data-products: Forecasting oil spill trajectories with numerical models is very demanding from the data management point of view. It is necessary to download large scale forecast 3D and 4D solutions (ocean circulation, wind waves and atmospheric circulation) to force the high resolution models necessary to accurately simulate oil spill trajectories. After the download, data needs to be interpolated into the higher resolution grids and the model input files must be updated. Subsequently, the models need to be run, the results need to be checked for consistency and stored so they can be used in case of an oil spill event. Having this in mind an operational interface to control in a quasi-automatic way operation of numerical models was developed and implemented.

The central server has different modules such as:
- Numerical model handler: used for running the ocean and wind waves numerical model;
- Download module: used for downloading the forcing data (e.g. MSF operational solution);
- Data base: where all data is stored in a structural way;
- Scheduler: to trigger automatic tasks;
- User management;
- Web services: to manage the communication between the server and the clients (desktop and web);
The following picture presents a snapshot of the web client.

4.1.3.6.5.- Pre-operational response during the Costa Concordia accident The Costa Concordia accident was a test to the implemented modelling system. From the modelling view a more refined grid was developed for the Giglio Island with a spatial resolution of 100x100 m and coupled to the existing grids using a downscaling approach.

4.1.3.7.- The Integrated Communication System
4.1.3.7.1.- The ARGO-Geomatrix platform: The near real time (NRT) monitoring of large marine areas for the control and prevention of oil spill requires adequate means to make the data acquired by distributed sensors timely and fully deployable by the end users of ARGOMARINE platform. This is precisely one of the goals of the Integrated Communication System (ICS) that has been developed during ARGOMARINE project. Indeed, the effective capability of the operative surveillance and the rapid inter-operability between the passive and active actors working for the general prevention of oil spill is based on suitable geopositioning devices, organized in the so-called ARGO-Geomatrix and integrated through the ICS. Such devices are also the basic tools for a fast intervention when an oil spill pollution event takes place. More in detail, the ICS has been developed as an interconnected group of communication adapters for making possible seamless data flow to and from the MIS. As such, the ICS has represented an ancillary but necessary component for the successful implementation of the MIS.

4.1.3.7.2.- Sensor-equipped buoy: In ARGOMARINE, a prototype of sensor-equipped buoy endowed with an E-nose has been designed and implemented. The main purpose is to sense meteorological parameters and water quality measurements and to transmit these data to the platform. The ARGOMARINE buoy is a static and sensor-equipped buoy with a GSM modem for transmitting the data. Moreover, the buoy can be configured sending text messages to the number corresponding to its internal GSM modem, while the acquired data are sent to the platform. There, a suitable application converts the received data, stores them and processes them so that they can be easily used by the operational platform.

4.1.3.7.3.- Argo sentinel and white box: Based on the idea that contribution of volunteers might play a fundamental role in monitoring and protecting the environment, during ARGOMARINE, both a dedicated device and a mobile application were designed and developed in order to allow people to timely report oil spills.

4.1.3.8.- The Marine information system (MIS)
4.1.3.8.1.- The MIS: One of the main achievements of ARGOMARINE project has been the development of the Marine Information System (MIS). The MIS aims to provide an effective and feasible detection and management of marine pollution events, by integrating and analysing data acquired by a number of monitoring resources, exploited to get useful and relevant information about the controlled sites. The main task of the MIS is to serve as a catalyst for integrating data, information and knowledge from various sources pertained to the marine areas of interest, by means of adequate Information Technology tools. More precisely, the MIS has been conceived as a connected group of subsystems for performing data storage, decision-support, data mining and analysis over data warehouses, as well as a web-GIS portal for the access and usage of products and services released to end-users. Products are herein considered as the marine environmental data acquired by the system or result of its processing; while the services are the processing facilities supplied by the system.

The system has to deal with all these kinds of knowledge for being effective and useful in the environmental management process, which typically consists of four activities in the following order:
1. Hazard identification, which involves filtering and screening criteria and reasoning about the activity being considered. This phase may be characterised as a continuous activity of the system looking for possible adverse outcomes and includes the search for further data to enhance its own performance.

2. Risk assessment, which involves developing quantitative and qualitative measurements of the hazard. The MIS may include the use of numerical and/or qualitative models, which can produce estimations of the degree of potential hazard. The heterogeneity of data coming from various sources and with many different levels of precision may be faced by using a Model-based System using model based reasoning, and/or a Knowledge-based System using rule-based reasoning, and/or by a Case-based System using case-based reasoning.

3. Risk evaluation. Once potential risks have been assessed, it is possible to introduce value judgements regarding the degree of concern about a certain hypothesis. This is possible if the system has accumulated experience solving similar situations using for instance a Case-based Reasoning approach, or an Inferential modelling, where previous experience of risk evaluation is used to assist for future judgements.

4. Intervention decision-making. The system needs appropriate methods for controlling or reducing risks. The system also requires knowledge about the context where the activity takes place and must be able to interpret its results and knowledge about the risk/benefit balancing methods.

MIS has to be very effective in managing and organizing quick solutions to severe and complex environmental problems. Such problems need, due to their multidisciplinary and heterogeneous nature, in order to be solved, the cooperation of many different subsystems which must be integrated, for a wide and more complete view and understanding of the specific situations.

4.1.3.8.2.- The Central ARGOMARINE Portal: As part of the Marine Information System, a web portal was created to disseminate observations, analysis and predictions of oil spill related parameters and phenomena to end-users. The portal is accessible through a common web browser, and does not require any plug-ins to be installed on the end-user's computer.

The web portal and web GIS functionality therein have been implemented using open and widely accepted standards. In the beginning of the project, we investigated available standards and open source tools that implemented these standards. Among the standards investigated were web GIS standards from the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.® (OGC) . Two of the most widely used of these OGC standards are the Web Map Service (WMS) and the Web Feature Service (WFS), which are used for exchange of raster and vector data, respectively.

Potential Impact:

4.1.4.- The potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far) and the main dissemination activities and exploitation of results

4.1.4.1.- Introduction
Around 150 million people are concentrated on the 46,000 km of Mediterranean coastline, with 110 million of them living in cities; some 200 million tourists arrive in the Mediterranean region every year; more than 200 petrochemical and energy installations, chemical industries and chlorine plants are located along the Mediterranean coast. These figures represent the major challenge for the preservation of the Mediterranean environment, with over 80% of pollution originating from human activities on land. However the required infrastructure to sustain these high population densities has often not been implemented or taken into account. The environmental and security threats the marine environment, and the delicate balance of Mediterranean sea, is submitted to are several, many of them contributing to the introduction of pollutants into coastal and estuarine ecosystems, more and more prone to pollution events outburst and pollution chronicization in particular. Oil spills threats are a severe issue especially in waters subjected to huge traffic of ships and low level of internal-external circulation (i.e. Mediterranean sea, Baltic sea). Due to very high marine traffic density, Mediterranean Sea is often quoted as a very high-risk area for water pollution. Transportation of large quantities of crude oil and refined products, narrow and congested straits through which ships enter and exit the Mediterranean, large number of ports, large number of islands especially in certain areas with high traffic density are increasing the risk of major accidents with subsequent important oil pollution in the region affecting ecosystems and human life.

4.1.4.2- The strategic Impact
In the frame of the needs of the EU to develop technologies and knowledge for reduced environmental impact, and for research which will improve the cleanliness and energy efficiency of industrial processes specific to transport products, ARGOMARINE project, not only has contributed towards the realization of this described vision, but has done it according to the processes, recommendations and guidelines of the FP7 programme. Therefore, ARGOMARINE has strongly contributed towards the Integration and Strengthening of the European Research Area, by exploring pluridisciplinary fields and by combining different science and technology fields, such as ICT with others such as environmental conservation. Moreover, ARGOMARINE has also supported many of the EU policy and social objectives, which are described in more details in the following sections.

In particular ARGOMARINE project can be considered as a pluridisciplinary and cross-thematic research cutting across different themes. The cross-thematic approach of this research project in the specific Transport call thematic is realized through the cover of different areas of the ICT field, the Environment, and the Security thematic.

4.1.4.3.- Technologies for the safeguard and for preventive analysis in protected areas
The ARGOMARINE platform will guarantee both a better management of sea and coastal areas with more autonomy and control for the personnel responsible of environmental control and their agencies over their own areas providing a higher quality service, and a reduction in the burden of continuous visits all over the territory in the traditional surveillance modalities. These factors will stabilize or even better reduce the cost of the environmental conservation system and simultaneously will improve the quality and efficiency of agencies that are in charge of control services.

The increasing demand for mobility and for energy production cause more pollutant emissions, and accidents causing fatalities and injuries, in particular during transports of good and crude and refined oil. The systems will mitigate the possibilities of accidents due to uncontrolled routes and navigation system fails by means of creation of a centralized traffic management and a real time positioning system. A controlled traffic will decrease the accidents and the consequent environmental disaster, reducing the exposure of citizens to diverse pollutants lost during accidents itself. The creation of a vessel traffic control (like the airways control for flights) on a large area basis will reduce vessel accidents with severe consequences (e.g. Moby Prince/Agip Abruzzo, Thetis/Eleni, Nassaya/Shipbroker, not to say Costa Concordia and Mersa II, just to mention the last two events in the Tuscany Archipelago). Moreover it will accelerate the establishment of interoperability standards as well as secure and seamless communication of acquired and historical data between all involved partners, including end users.

4.1.4.4.- Rapid detection and notification of emergency situation in marine environment for sea protection and monitoring
Through the early detection of pollution risk for the environment, ARGOMARINE platform will improve the possibility of quick intervention and treatment of the threat and thus reducing the probability for the accident to become of larger extent. The ARGOMARINE Marine Information System-Central Portal platform integration will grant access to the system at anytime from anywhere, and moreover it will extend the concept of in site surveillance to that of remote mobile surveillance, by allowing the monitoring of the surveillance area status even away of the operative central.

4.1.4.5.- Coordinating and operational activities for efficient crisis support management against marine pollution and post-accident monitoring
The environmental services provided by the ARGOMARINE project will provide a holistic solution for the early detection and management of disaster causing polluting events: one of the benefits of this complete system will be an access to quality environmental conservation information for all, independent of location; quality assurance and performance improvement and improved preventive environmental conservation. The ARGOMARINE project has aimed at the improvement of the quality of life by providing agencies in charge of surveillance with a user-friendly and affordable way of understanding, managing and coping with environmental risk assessment at their location and also on-the-move. This concept provides involved agencies with continuous feedback and management guidelines relevant to their issues and duties.

Areas at risk once identified will benefit from the support of the ARGOMARINE platform, which will be able to detect the first relevant signs of the disaster and to immediately alert the agencies in charge of the surveillance. This will enable the latter to provide appropriate intervention in an effective and timely manner. Considering that polluting events have a greater prevalence and therefore a greater impact on the citizens (e.g. tourists), the possibility of blocking the polluting events will give more confidence to them, so as to continue their normal lives and be a productive part of the work force and active members of the community.

4.1.4.6.- Management of heterogeneous information in a Decision Support System for marine environment safeguard and marine pollution prevention:
The services provided by the ARGOMARINE platform environmental decision support and the knowledge base system is able to process the available information and to provide through the implemented closed-loop system useful information to the personnel responsible for the intervention about the status of their polluting accident and risks and the evolution of the events.

Different types of sensors capable to detect various pollutants are not useful if used "stand-alone", while the integration between them will give the chance to provide an efficient and prompt intervention.

Besides, managing heterogeneous information in a whole system will grant access to quality environmental conservation information for all, independent of location; complying with quality assurance and improving performance and preventive environmental conservation.

4.1.4.7.- Methodologies, models and simulations tools for prompt assistance, organization and interventions in marine protected areas
ARGOMARINE project provides a number of facilities, which will help towards its acceptance by both environment conservation professionals and end-users alike. Easily navigable, user-friendly interfaces, secure data distribution of acquired data and historical records through the Internet are the basis provided by ARGOMARINE for a web service to be offered to stakeholders. Furthermore, it implements an improvement in the productivity of environmental conservation systems by facilitating surveillance services at the point of need and through better information processing.

4.1.4.8.- Liaisons with National-International operators for marine and submarine interventions
ARGOMARINE project aims to help in the strengthening of the EU leadership in the Environmental Conservation Systems' industry, by including a number of already available consumer ICT products for initial assessment inside the proposed ARGOMARINE platform, including systems and devices for the monitoring and management of the environment status of sea and coastal areas suffering subject to disaster and pollution risks.

At the present stage, contacts are in course:
1) with the Italian National Dept. of the Civil Protection-Presidency of the Council of Ministries to insert the ARGOMARINE technologies inside the National Antipollution Plan to be adopted in the next plan release.
2) with the Italian National General Command of the Coast Guard, to embed ARGOMARINE's MIS into Coast Guard's situation rooms at local and central levels

The Central ARGOMARINE web Portal offers seamless access to data from multiple sources, such as satellite data and derived products, in situ observations, met-ocean and oil spill drift model forecasts, through a unified interface. Having easy access to all data from all the sensors connected to the MIS as well as to other sources (from external parties) in the same system, through a common web browser, will save the operators for a substantial amount of work compared to extracting data from numerous systems. With further development and enhancement of the portal components and the MIS, the portal can contribute to improved oil spill monitoring by ensuring access to all relevant data in a timely manner.

4.1.4.9.- A wider enrolment of societal stakeholder: the network of volunteers and the Argo Sentinel case
The results and success of the Argo Sentinel app shows an example of the wider societal implications that can be reached thanks to modern achievements in IT technologies. Indeed, too often technological research and social needs seem to walk on parallel tracks then never find a meeting point. However, it's just a matter of providing the right tools to get in touch technology, research institutions and end-users. And this is what it was desired to achieve with the introduction of the ARGO Sentinel mobile application. PNAT, CNR-ISTI and NMPZ planned an activity for the creation of a network of volunteers specifically in the area of the Tuscan Archipelago,of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and generally of the Greek seas(associations of maritime operators, fishermen, bay watchers, diving centres, local and national civil protection networks etc.) in order to:
-establish of a network of "sea sentinels" helping to monitor the presence of oil slicks and spills at sea in proximity of coastal areas
-create an "early alert intervention network", which may be awaken and deployed in presence of a spillage event approaching beaches and shores.
- disseminate (in a proactive way) the ARGOMARINE results toward a general audience mainly composed by young people, which might be attracted by the direct participation to this kind of direct involvement.

4.1.4.10.- ARGOMARINE the communication and dissemination of results
The ARGOMARINE consortium carried out dissemination activities along the entire duration of the project. These activities were related to the wide diffusion and distribution of knowledge and information related to the project and to the establishment of a close cooperation with potential end-users, the scientific community and environmental organizations.

The aims of ARGOMARINE dissemination activity were:
-to raise awareness of the project and to publicize its activities, particularly its findings and results;
-to provide a mechanism to leverage efforts at European level;
-to identify, define and undertake exploitation activities which will be beneficial to the operators at a pan-European level.

ARGOMARINE main objectives related to the dissemination were:
- to disseminate, promote uptake of ARGOMARINE technology in wider EU community;
- to explain and convince EU users about ARGOMARINE's benefits and capability to tackle innovative and complex problems;
- to disseminate the EU requirements and needed services to ARGOMARINE community;
- to create a bridge between technological development and the communities to reduce the gaps between project results and their marketable applications.

During the 39 months of activities, ARGOMARINE fulfilled all the objectives using the following media:
1. Websites
2. Social Media
3. Press Releases
4. Conferences
5. Workshops
6. Publications
7. Joint workshops and meetings
8. Information material (brochures, leaflets, newsletters, handouts etc)
9. ARGOMARINE Book

4.1.4.11.- Social Media Communication and Digital PR
To increase the visibility of the project to a wider public and to create a real-time interaction between people and researchers, we opened and we managed all the useful Social Media to better disseminate the project, in particular:
a) YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/ARGOMARINE
b) Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ARGOMARINEproject
c) Twitter Channel: @ ARGOMARINE_EU - twitter.com/ARGOMARINE_EU
d) Slideshare Page: http://www.slideshare.net/ARGOMARINE
e) Flickr Page: http://www.flickr.com/ARGOMARINE
f) Telly (ex TwitVid) Channel: http://www.telly.com/ARGOMARINE_EU
g) Soundcloud Channel: http://www.soundcloud.com/ARGOMARINE

4.1.4.12.- YouTube Channel (see http://www.youtube.com/ARGOMARINE online)
The video-sharing website was used to upload videos specifically created to explain the project and to follow the evolutionary steps of the project. The ARGOMARINE Channel was customised and playlists for each type of video were created to ensure an easy navigability. Every video uploaded by ARGOMARINE was also incorporated in the official website in the Media Centre page (see http://www.argomarine.eu/media-centre online).

4.1.4.13.- Facebook Page (see http://www.facebook.com/ARGOMARINEproject online)
The ARGOMARINE page in the social networking site was opened to better share videos, images, events, workshops, news, and to create a network of people interested to the Project. Some customized TABs were created to better link all the ARGOMARINE official presence on the web:


4.1.4.14.- Twitter Channel
The ARGOMARINE Channel in the microblogging website service was created to better communicate thanks to the possibility of the updating of news, pictures, videos and liveblogging of the experiments and events


4.1.4.15.- Press releases and Media Campaigns
Each ARGOMARINE activity was disseminated through a press release. In the last year 21 press releases were disseminate and more than 250 articles appeared on the local and national newspapers and online journals.

A particular attention was paid to involve mass-media in the dissemination process, mainly TV programs oriented to scientific divulgation. As it is possible to see in the ARGOMARINE YouTube Channel
(see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpSVdD8pi78&list=PLD9EA0E223FCC1AD5 online), 25 interviews and reports appeared in local and national TV programs in Italy, Portugal and Greece.

A particular contribution to the broadcast diffusion was the realization of professionals videos sent to the national and international TVs (see http://www.ARGOMARINE.eu/index.php/media-center/ online)

4.1.4.16.- Workshop and Conferences
The dissemination of ARGOMARINE results took place at national and international level through participation in national and international conferences, workshops, and other scientific events. Participation to workshops took place at national and European level to explain the vision and goals of the project. The consortium undertook the responsibility to present the results of ARGOMARINE in a number of international events until the end of the project.

At the end of the second year of the project (15th December 2011), a first workshop was organized in Zakynthos island, by NMPZ. The workshop on "ARGOMARINE: A New Oil Spill Early Warning System" was held among the Scientific Partners of the ARGOMARINE Project and representatives from the competent Local Services of the island who play an important role in the contingency operations against marine pollution events and academic institutes.

List of Websites:

http://www.ARGOMARINE.eu/
http://ARGOMARINE.nmp-zak.org/
http://argo.nersc.no/
http://www.facebook.com/ARGOMARINEproject
http://www.youtube.com/ARGOMARINE
http://www.slideshare.net/ARGOMARINE
http://www.flickr.com/ARGOMARINE
http://www.telly.com/ARGOMARINE_EU
http://www.soundcloud.com/ARGOMARINE

Related information

Reported by

ENTE PARCO NAZIONALE ARCIPELAGO TOSCANO
PORTOFERRAIO
Italy
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