In the context of the project OpSSERVE - Optical Satellite Services for EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) – the European Space Imaging (EUSI) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) established for the first time a fully operational and near real-time service to detect vessels and maritime activities with optical satellite imagery . The service was implemented in 2013 and contribute to maritime situation awareness, e.g. in order to reduce the risk of maritime accidents, marine pollution and the loss of human life at sea.
Since its activation in 2007, EMSA’s CleanSeaNet (CSN) system provides pollution detection services in support of maritime surveillance and decision making for all participating European member states based on SAR satellite data. The main advantage of SAR data is their independence of weather conditions (cloud coverage), but the identification of small vessels is rather difficult. The use of very high resolution (VHR) optical data provides valuable information to identify small vessels.
From the VHR optical imagery, actionable information products are created in an automatic processing chain including image pre-processing, data transcription, automatic vessel detection, GUI based interactive vessel and activity detection and finally the delivery of standardized products to EMSA. The service provides access to globally collected satellite imagery and receives data and derived products in near real-time (1 or 3 hours). In OpSSERVE, five satellite missions are available: WorldView-1, WorldView-2, GeoEye-1, IKONOS and EROS-B. The poster will present the experiences of the operational service and give an overview on future aspects and possible applications.