By Tim Culmer
Riskaware’s MarineAware product is a robust oil spill modelling and visualisation platform designed to support effective oil spill response and readiness planning. A powerful tool in itself, MarineAware can also be fully integrated with additional capabilities to provide automatic detection of oil via satellite and enhanced impact assessment functionality. Our goal is to create solutions that empower users by providing greater situational awareness for incident response and planning.
MarineAware’s modelling capabilities simulate a large number of the factors that influence an oil spill when it is in the sea. These include its transport by wind and currents as well as natural diffusion and dispersion. Processes which change the state of the oil are also modelled, such as emulsification, evaporation, beaching and washback.
The accuracy of these MarineAware models enable users to confidently evaluate a spill’s potential impact on the marine environment and local populations. This data in turn drives the creation of more appropriate readiness, mitigation and clean-up strategies.
How it works
To perform its modelling, MarineAware utilises input data from a range of global and local datasets. All data is sourced automatically, without any input from the user; including Metocean and meteorological forecast and reanalysis data, together with bathymetry and details about the chemical properties of the oil. With this information the model can accurately simulate a wide variety of different scenarios.
This both supports users to respond to real-world incidents and enables the analysis of potential scenarios for risk assessment and readiness planning. All results are displayed through the intuitive MarineAware user interface, this intelligence is provided in an accessible, timely, and actionable manner.
In additional to its forward prediction capabilities, MarineAware can also perform source identification using an algorithm developed in partnership with the University of Oxford. By utilising machine learning techniques, the algorithm is able to estimate the area where a spill most likely occurred. This information is cross-referenced automatically with AIS ship tracking data, to analyse activity which may have caused the spill. If illegal activity is suspected, the model can help identify the ship or ships most likely to have been involved.
Riskaware have extensive experience working with organisations to innovate and develop solutions that address specific needs for our customers. As well as our consultancy work, we work in close collaboration with our partners to create products, based on the MarineAware platform, which enable first responders, emergency services, and government authorities to create data-led incident response strategies to environmental events.
MarineAware’s capabilities can be applied to a range of purposes. The platform is modular and can be seamlessly integrated into existing systems. With our partners, we can offer custom solutions to tackle different challenges, including detection and notification, training solutions or environmental protection.
Example use cases:
Environmental Identification Capabilities: MarineAware and 4EI
We have worked with other industry experts to expand our MarineAware features. Our partner, 4 Earth Intelligence (4EI), provides Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) data for the areas where MarineAware is deployed. These datasets are derived from the latest satellite imagery to ensure they are accurate and up to date.
4EI’s ESI datasets use global standards to categorise coastal areas, by their sensitivity to marine pollution such as oil spills. This allows users to identify sensitive ecosystems or vulnerable areas that are more likely to experience significant impacts from an oil spill and should therefore be prioritised during mitigation and clean-up exercises.
ESI data is not just an asset when responding to a live incident but can also be used to understand potential environmental risks. For example, when choosing where to place shipping lanes or for insurance valuation.
Satellite Data Inputs for Automatic Detection & Alerts: Marine Watch powered by MarineAware
MarineAware has also been customised and integrated as a platform for other products. EASOS Marine Watch is a product created for the Malaysian government, which combines the automatic detection of oil spills using satellites with MarineAware’s robust modelling and user interface. Therefore, in addition to MarineAware’s own features, users in Malaysia receive notifications detailing any potential oil spills detected in their waters.
All the detected oil spills and their latest modelling results can be viewed through a version of the MarineAware user interface, adapted especially for Marine Watch. And because the detection capability is fully integrated, the system runs autonomously and generates results without the need for additional human input. This means responders can be ready to act straight away when they are notified about a potential oil spill.
Marine Watch was developed as part of the EASOS project, which was led by the Satellite Applications Catapult. The oil spill detection capability was developed by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML). As a result of the project Riskaware have strong working relationships with both these organisations.
4 Earth Intelligence deliver intelligence about the Earth, enabled by Space, for every need. Their aim is to drive better and more informed decision making about our world. They do this by converting satellite imagery and all forms of spatial data into information about our world for government, business and individuals. Their technical skills provide objective, consistent and repeatable insights for clients across the globe.
The Satellite Applications Catapult is part of a UK technology and innovation network which aims to drive economic growth through the commercialisation of research. Their aim is to exploit intelligent satellite data to empower innovation for a better world and collaborate with UK industrial and academic communities, working together to achieve this goal.
PML is a charity, undertaking pioneering marine research for the benefit of us all. As a charity they aim to develop and apply innovative marine science to ensure a sustainable future for our ocean. For over 40 years they have provided evidence-based environmental solutions to societal challenges by applying cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research that benefits society and promotes stewardship of marine ecosystems.
Riskaware drives actionable intelligence for everyone. Our incident modelling platform enables informed decision making to help people and governments respond to environmental, human and security challenges worldwide. We help our partners solve difficult problems in challenging domains, spanning urban, cyber, marine and bio environments. We are experts in our field, with a dedicated team of software engineers, scientists and developers who work with global governments and organisations.