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Tactical Airborne Oil Spill Remote Sensing: POSEIDON, a New Operational Approach

April 19 - November 19, 2018
3:00 pm

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Alessandro Vagata
Fototerra Aerial Survey LLC
Director of Operations


Airborne remote sensing is becoming a foundation of the overall strategy to improve the ability to plan and position response resources in the optimal areas to respond to spills, it is also an effective and efficient support technique for natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) following the spill, and the preferred method for periodic surveillance of coastal areas against illegal or accidental discharge.

The most important features that airborne remote sensing platforms should have are: multi-sensors system for complementarity and redundancy of information; capability to classify oil targets as Recoverable or Non-recoverable; capability to georeference the targets and track moving oil; real time information – for tactical and strategic use; data suitable to support the Common Operating Picture; ability to expand the operating window to low-light conditions.

In July 2016 the airborne remote sensing platform POSEIDON was introduced into service to answer to the needs of the responders community. The aircraft integrates multiple remote sensors and mission system components into one network-based data acquisition, real-time processing and communication platform. The philosophy behind POSEIDON is to provide real time intelligence on the scene, which means understanding the environment, deciding on appropriate tactical-strategic actions and controlling the results.

In the presentation, we give an overview of currently existing oil spill remote sensing technology such as infrared/ultraviolet line scanners, microwave radiometers, laser fluorosensors and radar systems; and then we focus on the operational approach adopted during oil spill detection, that includes three basic steps: synoptic overview of the spill, near range analysis, data processing and data communication. The presentation shows how this approach allows the responders to have a timely and clear picture of where the oil is, how much oil there is, where it is heading and where the hotspots are.

Examples of images and data collected during the first year of operation of POSEIDON are presented and commented in detail.


April 19, 2018 @ 3:00 pm
November 19, 2018 @ 3:00 pm