ESA title

Arctic IAP

  • ACTIVITYFeasibility Study
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREATransport & Logistics, Energy, Safety & Security

Objectives of the service

To provide a fast Integrated Situational Awareness Service using space derived data and integrating it with other information sources and delivered through low bandwidth satellite communications rapidly and directly to the point of need. The user community being and not exclusive to, Arctic oil and gas, shipping and tourism industries.

Users and their needs

Responses to the survey questionnaire, end user participation in the workshop and face-to-face interviews have helped identify a number of user needs that the Situational Awareness Service needs to meet:
- Be operational across Satcoms over a latitude above 70°N
- Provide environmental baseline information and environmental monitoring
- Access to situational awareness information in Near Real Time
- Any additional tool or system shall require minimal manipulation on-board and operate as a standalone unit
- Support a variety of Artic related activities across different industries including ice monitoring, emergency planning, oil spill response, vessel routing/tracking, cruise ship support
- Provide hydrographic information
- Compliancy with international standards
- The uploading and sharing of in-situ data

The activities undertaken in this study are expected to have an impact on any industries operating in the Arctic environment:

  • Commercial Shipping Companies
  • Oil and Gas operators
  • Mining Companies
  • Arctic Tourism Companies
  • Environmental Organisations

Service/ system concept

The service model is defined as the Arctic ISAS (Integrated Situational Awareness Service) built around the delivery of different situational awareness information layers into a processing and control centre, which integrates the datasets for storage on the server in the Geo-Engine and delivery via the low bandwidth optimisation software. An overview of the service is outlined in the figure below, which delivers 3 types of output to the end user:
  • Situational awareness alerts
  • Situational awareness information layers
  • Situational awareness in-situ data
The concept of the situational awareness alerts was identified following engagement with the end users where it was indicated that a service beyond a simple “dump” of data layers is preferable and that data delivery in context of the users situation offers more than some of the systems that already provide data layers.
The service is pitched at the shipping, oil and gas, and tourism industries which through the engagement have outlined their need for Arctic Situational Awareness Information.
The situational awareness layers are sourced from the data suppliers and consist of a mixture of information from satellite derived sources and ground/ocean based sensors. The in-situ layers consist of data such as photographs and videos collected by the end users in the field which are delivered back to the control centre via the low bandwidth delivery system.

Space Added Value

Satellite Earth Observation data (COSMO-SkyMed & Sentinel-1 primarily) were identified as the EO assets for use in the service and were included in the Proof of Concept. Regarding satellite communications, the Arctic region necessitates the use of Low-Earth Orbiting systems for communication and data delivery since geostationary satellite communications systems cannot provide coverage to the far North. The project concentrated on the use of VSAT specifically Iridium OpenPort/Pilot and this was used during the Proof of Concept to demonstrate the system capabilities. Satellite AIS was a furher satellite system used in the project and which would form a key component of the future service.

Current Status

Complete. Following the completion of the user requirements review, the state of the art analysis, the economic/non-economic viability and the definition of the integrated service, the project concluded its Proof of Concept and defined the roadmap to a future sustainable service. The roadmap identified a number of critical steps that would need to be taken to make a demonstration phase project possible. Work on these steps is on-going.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 08 July 2015