ESA title


  • ACTIVITYFeasibility Study
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAMaritime and Aquatic

Objectives of the service

The objective is to assess the technical feasibility as well as the economic viability of an integrated service that can be used by national maritime and port authorities to monitor air pollution from maritime emissions and take relevant actions. The concept is based on the combination of EO data and ship information used on a stand-alone basis providing real time information, or as inputs to pollution generation / propagation models providing pollution forecasts. Satellite telecommunication can fill the gaps identified in the transmission of relevant information where no other communications infrastructure is present, particularly on open seas.

Users and their needs

The direct users of the service are identified as the national or regional authorities responsible for air quality now (ministries of transport and environment), or for the compliance monitoring of maritime emissions in the future.

The other direct users are likely to be international institutions, such as WMO (for monitoring global air quality trends), IMO (for monitoring implementation of its conventions), European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and port authorities. Additional users are found through the integration of the SAMBA service with existing local air quality services.As future users, the private sector (port operators, consultancies) will be included in the study.

Service/ system concept

The SAMBA service will integrate space assets with emission and air quality model into a space-based, gridded maritime emission service. There is a strong need for such information, but as yet no existing service. Based on preliminary assessment, at least three types of service lines are foreseen.

  • Aggregated emissions over large sea areas
  • Air quality forecasts for port cities
  • Vessel specific emission statistics

Space Added Value

The services will build on the satnav (GPS) signal received by on-board AIS equipment on ships, the transmission of the AIS information from ships through an AIS satellite or ground VHF network, and the conversion of AIS-based navigational and other information from all ships in a sea area into an emission grid. In the services, the satellite navigation-based emission grid will be merged/compared with earth observation-derived NO2 concentrations from the OMI and similar instruments. The applicability of SO2-OMI and other instruments on the ship emission monitoring will be analysed.

Current Status

The project was finalised in January 2014.

Status Date

Updated: 07 April 2014