Arctic IAP - Improved Situational Awareness in the Arctic

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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.

Product Benefits

The development of situational awareness data from space and in-situ derived sources for maritime activities has resulted in the establishment of a number of services including oil slick detection from radar and AIS ship tracking. These are some of the more mature services compared to others still in research and development phase such as ice movement and thickness mapping. The benefits will be realised by overcoming the challenge of integrating these services and delivering on a user friendly platform into the Arctic environment.

Product Features

The main feature is the development of an Integrated Situational Awareness Service that delivers Geo-Information layers to a variety of industries operating in the Arctic environment.

The delivery of the layers will operate over the low data transfer bandwidths experienced in the Arctic. Extensive end user engagement activities are being undertaken to understand the problems faced in the Arctic and confirm what Geo-Information layers are required. These may include the following data layers from satellite imagery and other sources depending on user feedback: weather, met ocean, AIS, ice extent/movement, oil slick locations.

Arctic IAP - Features

Key Issues

The key issues addressed in the project include:

  • The integration and supply of a wide variety of different Geo-information layers in near real time (where applicable) through an easy to access portal
  • Overcoming the difficulty of data delivery in remote locations where Satellite Communication bandwidths are low.

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.

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Geraint Cooksley
Telespazio VEGA UK, 350 Capability Green
Luton
LU1 3LU
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1582 399 000

ESA Project Manager

Gonzalo Martín de Mercado
ECSAT
Atlas Building F10 (R27)
Didcot
OX11 0QX
United Kingdom
00441235444311

Status Date

Updated: 08 July 2015 - Created: 28 February 2014