Traditionally we associate vessel detection and maritime surveillance with border protection or defence related applications. Protecting and monitoring our planets marine habitats, searching for missing or hijacked vessels and offshore oil and gas resources all require vessel detection or marine surveillance.
The use of automatic identification systems (AIS) data is the primary source of information relating to the movement of vessels. AIS is a tracking system that uses the onboard transceivers on ships to send out positioning information so these ships can be tracked. However, small non-commercial vessels and indigenous fishing vessels, for example, don’t have AIS on board. Further, those conducting nefarious activities certainly won’t be using AIS. So what can we do to track or locate vessels that aren’t using AIS?
The use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) has long been used to detect Vessels, however if you are looking for vessels without AIS enabled, you are relying on chance, which means you need to maximise the imagery data available and increase the temporal depth.
Ozius was approached by an Oil and Gas customer to assist with identifying and tracking indigenous fishing vessels over an historic period of time to help measure potential social impacts in and around offshore oil fields.
This particular part of the world did not have large SAR archive data. So, we increased the temporal depth by utilising optical and radar imagery data.
In summary the objective was to identify indigenous fishing vessels of various sizes and construction in nearshore and offshore conditions.