WIT Press

Remote Sensing Of Marine Oil Spills From Airborne Platforms Using Multi-sensor Systems


Free (open access)








1386 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


N. Robbe & T. Hengstermann


Airborne oil spill monitoring has become a global concern during the last three decades. Currently there are a multitude of specialized airborne remote sensing systems all over the world, which are operated for this purpose, especially for the deterrence of potential polluters and the support of oil spill clean-up activities. In the 1970s and 1980s the main effort has been directed towards developing sensors with enhanced spill monitoring capabilities which explains the large number of existing well-established oil spill remote sensors like infrared/ultraviolet line scanners, microwave radiometers, laser fluorosensors, and X-band radar systems. Recently, more attention has been paid to the automated processing of remotely sensed oil spill data acquired by airborne multi-sensor platforms in terms of data analysis and fusion. In this paper, we focus on data processing and present ways of improving the usability of airborne multi-sensor oil spill monitoring systems with regard to on-board and ground-based data processing as well as the distribution of remotely sensed oil spill data and derived data products. In this context we (1) give an overview of currently existing oil spill remote sensing technology, (2) present the Multispectral Environmental Data Unit for Surveillance Applications (MEDUSA) for network-based real-time data acquisition, (3) describe a MEDUSA software module for analysis and fusion of multi-sensor data and (4) present the distribution of oil spill data and related data products using web-based geographical information systems (web-based GIS). In particular, the automated generation of thematic maps of the oil spill scene along with their web-based distribution is becoming more important in distributed marine crisis management. Keywords: airborne remote sensing, oil spill, marine pollution, multi-sensor system, data acquisition, data processing, data fusion, geographical information system, marine crisis management.


airborne remote sensing, oil spill, marine pollution, multi-sensorsystem, data acquisition, data processing, data fusion, geographical informationsystem, marine crisis management.