In maritime operations in the harsh arctic environment, it is often beneficial to have fast access to good quality earth observation and met-ocean data .
The earth observation data can come from many satellite sources with different access points, formats, delivery timelines and ordering deadlines. Ordering processes are often complicated and time consuming. In addition, optimal utilization of the data, requires knowledge, skills, good communication and software tools.
When satellite imagery is used for maritime operations, weather information is an important part of the analysis. It is therefore important that the relevant imagery and met-ocean information can be accessed and analyzed in a common easy-to-use interface. The interface must also be resilient in a low-bandwidth communication scenario.
The Muldiarcos project will integrate ordering and delivery of formatted satellite imagery in a common, robust interface with relevant met-ocean data from both non-commercial and commercial sources.
Two main user categories will be approached during the project, offshore oil and gas and commercial shipping represented by the cruise operators.
The offshore oil and gas industry is under quite heavy pressure from a price but also from an environmental political perspective. Total service costs is therefore a critical issue and cost-effective solutions to obtain and serve the customers need to be established. The benefit for the offshore industry will be economically by operating more effective, but also socio-economically by documenting use of additional services and information to allow for safer and more environmentally feasible operations. Viking Supply Ships is defined as a key customer for this market segment.
The Arctic and Antarctic cruise market is growing and in addition to an increasing need for updated and reliable information for operations safety in or close to ice, this customer also uses the information for planning of the cruises. This use is quite new and still under development, and the buying criteria is still unclear. The delivery of the service to this customer will be an important activity in this project and Hurtigruten Group is defined as a key customer.
The key users for the demonstration project are both Norweigian, but they operate on a global scale.
The intended solution will be to integrate existing service offerings from KSAT and StormGeo into an end-to-end service chain. This chain will be based on an integrated use of navigation and Earth observation where the vessel position and planned route is the baseline for providing access to data and information.
KSAT has ordering, downlink and processing capabilities for all the commercial and free SAR satellites in orbit today. SAR satellite imagery from these sources can, in addition to be used for detection and monitoring of sea ice, be used for environmental monitoring (oil spill detection) and increased maritime domain awareness (vessel detection) on a global scale.
StormGeo has both a met-ocean web interface, Metocean 5, and a routing on-board solution, StormGeo On-board/BonVoyageSystem (BVS). Metocean 5 is mostly targeting Marine activity in the Oil & Gas segment, but also recently Offshore Renewables market. BVS has mainly been used by shipping industry, with focus on low bandwidth adaption of data and less focus on high resolution services, but by improving content and functionality it will also be able to use for vessels supporting other types of marine operations like exploration/drilling, cable & pipeline lay and cruise traffic in Arctic. Metocean 5 has started to test using satellite information from polar orbiting sources as part of the decision support.
This project will enable a streamlined handling of multi-mission satellite sources in both the Metocean 5 and BVS solution. By making satellite information provided by KSAT more accessible, easier to order and better displayed in relation to other arctic risk factors, the operational picture becomes more complete and it will be faster and easier to make critical operational decisions.
The space assets utilized in the proposed system will mainly be earth observation data from SAR and optical satellites. The main goal is to demonstrate a streamlined end-to-end ordering and delivery process of imagery from a variety of satellites. Although it is anticipated that Sentinel-1a/1b will be the most important imaging sensors in the demonstration, it will also be important to include commercial SAR sources to demonstrate the complete sensor suite normally used in targeted market. The commercial SAR satellites include RADARSAT-2, COSMO-SkyMed, RISAT-1 and TerraSAR-X. In addition, Sentinel-2, NPOESS and Landsat optical data will be ingested in the system.
Satellite telecommunication will be used to transfer the data to vessels in remote locations. Depending on availability at the time of demonstration, the satellite communication solution best suited for the vessel operations will be utilized for communication with the vessel. The satellite imagery will be formatted according to the available communication bandwidth and related cost.
Satellite navigation will of course be an important part of the vessel operations. The demonstration will utilize the vessel positions and planned route to evaluate and plan satellite scheduling. In addition, satellite AIS information will be used to analyse vessel traffic and ice routing in the operations area, and vessel positions at the time of satellite imagery will be indicated to ease the image-to-ground referencing.
The CDR (Critical Design Review) for the MULDIARCOS has been performed, and the user requirements and system requirements and System and Service Architecture (SSA) have been reviewed. The user and system requirements of the project were identified in close cooperation with the pilot users at the BDR (Baseline Design Review) in November 2017. The user interfaces have also been designed and presented to the project stakeholders.
In 2017, Hurtigruten was given access to the MetOcean5 (MO5) portal deployed on a NAVTOR NavStation (digital chart table) onboard two of their ships in order to demonstrate the benefits of fast and stable access to satellite imagery in the Arctic. Sentinel 1 images were delivered to Hurtigruten throughout the Summer, both to the vessel “MS Fram” around Svalbard and to the vessel “MS Spitsbergen” on the south-west side of Greenland.
In addition, deliveries of image data were made to the operational Quintillion (VIC/Alcatel) O&G project in Alaska starting on 30th June 2017 and continuing until late August 2017, and then again from 3rd October 2017 until the operational project ended on 26th October 2017. The imagery was a mix of Sentinel-1 data and commercial SAR sources (Cosmo-SkyMed, TerraSAR-X and RADARSAT-2).
Demonstration deliveries to Viking Supply Ships operations have been recently initiated in the Pechora Sea. The picture below shows the first satellite imagery delivery (Sentinel 1) into the StormGeo web interface from the Pechora Sea on 12th February 2018.