SIMONA - Satellite assets Integration for Maritime situatiON Awareness

The aim of SIMONA project is to provide an information platform that based on the integration of satellite and terrestrial data can both complement and enhance existing Maritime situation awareness services operated by Italian Coast Guard and Navy over a wide area of the Mediterranean Sea and at the same time provide space-based services bringing functional advantages to private stakeholders like Merchant ships Insurance Companies and leisure boat users.

The technological key is represented by the integration of services from Earth Observation sensors (mainly Cosmo SkyMed Copernicus Landsat and WorldView) Satellite Communications (Orbcom or Iridium) Satellite Navigation (GPS EGNOS Galileo in the future) along with information andor operational services coming from other Institutional (AIS Cadastral Data) andor Private assets (Merchant Ship databases Port Info databases).


Users and their needs

The following users/stakeholders will be involved in the Demonstration Project:

  • Italian Coast Guard;
  • Italian Navy (Marina Militare Italiana);
  • D’Amico Merchant Ship fleet owner;
  • Sapri Broker Srl;
  • Leisure boat users insured through Sapri Broker.

Their active participation in the Project will be realized within:

  • Operative Requirements identification;
  • Functional Trade Off Analysis;
  • Demonstration Scenario Definition;
  • System Trial;

Validation of the business model.

The User needs targeted by SIMONA can be grouped in the following six macro areas:

  • Open Sea Control Authorities:
    • Ships detection and characterization (particularly in relation to non-collaborative ones) in support to surveillance operations.
    • Cyclic monitoring of a specific area for non-collaborative ships or safety critical events and activities, with NRT output.
  • Coastal Control Authorities:
    • Monitoring of small vessels position reporting and eCall, for enhancement to Search and Rescue capabilities.
    • Acquisition of Local Based Information concerning the leisure boat traffic and non-collaborative vessels, not possible with the current employed detection equipments in order to improve the current maritime situation awareness.
    • Awareness enhancement during Search and Rescue activities.
    • Monitoring of large coastal areas for potential illegal building activities detection.
  • Mercantile Transport Companies:
    • Support to safe routes through integration of meteo/oceanographic alerts and collaborative signalling.
    • Easier and faster access to local ordinances over planned routes.
    • Evaluation of Oil Spill events, and of risky situations on remote harbours.
  • Insurance Companies and related customers:
    • Reduction of risks for customers during navigation, better knowledge of maritime situation, .
    • Statistics on hazards and accidents.
    • Risk analysis, for diversification of insurance and value-added LBS packages to sell to customers navigating in different scenarios, and for management of risks related to customer groups navigation in specific areas affected by high risks.

Service/ system concept

Based on the Information Platform, SIMONA will provide the following services:

  • Maritime COP Enrichment (eCOP): to generate an enriched Common Operating Picture (eCOP), through the integration of different information sources that can provide additional information on maritime traffic, in order to improve the awareness of maritime situation. COP will be enhanced through detection of non-collaborative ships  based on EO images, and through users-shared positions and collaborative messages;
  • Buildings Detection (BuildDet): to support the detection of illegal buildings along coastal areas, through the elaboration of satellite images acquired for the AOI and overlapping with cadastral data.
  • Safe Navigation (SafeNav): to provide data on maritime situation, and LBSs, in order to improve the safety of the customers during the navigation and at the planning of ship voyage.
  • Visual Connection (VisCon): to check vessels condition during navigation and/or in emergency situations, in particular for oil spill detection purpose, through elaboration of EO satellite images.
  • Risk Analysis (RiskChk) to exchange data with insurance companies in order to create a reliable picture of the existent risks in the AOI and to adapt the risk sustained by insurance companies.

Space Added Value

SIMONA Information Platform will provide the users with services that leverage on EO, GNSS and SATCOM Satellite Assets both enabling users to optimize performance on existing operations, and increasing their capacity with information specifically elaborated.

EO is required for:

  • Change detection (to detect potentially illegal coastline buildings);
  • Ship detection and characterization (to support tracking and tracing of non-collaborative vessels, and to support evaluation of risks of navigation to remote harbours);
  • Oil Spill detection (to detect and characterize oil slicks communicated by the user).

GNSS is required to:

  • Support navigation on safe routes;
  • Position reporting for location-based bulletin information, and for traffic monitoring;
  • Support to precise eCall positioning;
  • Geo-reference collaborative user-generated local pictures.

SATCOM is required for:

  • Continuity of communication (mainly position reporting) and service feedbacks (mainly bulletins or alerts) between coastlines (where 3G/4G is available) and open sea.

Product Benefits

  • Finer monitoring capacities (better covering sea areas with information not available before) and timely alerts on non-collaborative ships, with consequent reduction in navigation and personnel costs for Surveillance and S&R operations by Navy and Coast Guard;
  • Widening of Insurance Broker portfolio with UBI-like services, and enhancement of Insurance Companies risk management capacities;
  • Increase in safety of navigation for leisure boats, thanks to easy, integrated and personalized access to meteo/oceanographic data, crowd-sourced info on hazards at sea, and Local Ordinances produced by Authorities;
  • Capacity of International Shipping Companies to finely and timely evaluate Oil Spill events involving their boats, and consequently reflect this knowledge in post-event dynamics with involved stakeholders (e.g. local Authorities, Insurance Companies);
  • Capacity of International Shipping Companies to finely and timely evaluate remote harbours risk level, thus providing their decision processes with precious information impacting trades and commercial competitiveness.

Key Issues

Limits in ships and vessels traffic monitoring capacities by responsible Authorities, due to Common Operational Picture constrained to mandatory traffic monitoring systems (like AIS) and not taking advantage of both EO elaborations, and of small vessels traffic and collaborative skills, or commercial ships on-board radar data; this reflects in a non-optimal capacity to monitor sea areas and manage related activities, both in terms of effectiveness of interventions and in terms of resources consumption.

Limits to market competitiveness of Insurance Brokers in the sector related to leisure boats users, due to low acceptance by them of UBI-like (Usage Based Insurance-like) products, implying also limited capacities of risk management by the Insurance Companies.

Easy access to safety-critical timely geo-referenced information (Authorities-generated local ordinances, or crowd-sourced hazard alerts).

Limited capacity of monitoring of Oil Spill events by maritime Shipping Companies in relation to events involving their ships, due to only eye-based procedures.

Limits to market competitiveness of maritime Shipping Companies in relation to trades to risky remote harbours, due to unreliable or absent information on current situation of handling in the harbour.

Current Status

After the Phase 2 Kick Off, the Consortium was involved in the production of the detailed system design and the preliminary test plan and procedures. Moreover the Consortium produced a Dissemination Plan to stage a SIMONA promotion strategy and an exploitation plan. 

The FAT of the first increment of SIMONA was held successfully on November 25 and the related SAT is scheduled mid December.

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Salvatore Castiglione
Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A.
Via San Martino Della Battaglia, 56 -
00185 Rome RM

ESA Project Manager

Beatrice Barresi
ESA/ECSAT - Atlas Building
Fermi Avenue, Harwell Campus,
OX11 0FD
United Kingdom
+44 1235444365

Status Date

Created: 21 May 2009 - Updated: 15 February 2014