Minimize Overview
The monitoring of the seasonal and spatial variability of fishing grounds and support to the implementation of the international regulations (e.g. vessel monitoring) are the key elements of this application.

Minimize Ship Traffic

ESA map reveals European shipping routes like never before

04 June 2009

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A synoptic view of European shipping routes can be seen for the first time thanks to a new map created using seven years of radar data from ESA’s Envisat satellite.

Earth observation satellites have been providing ship-detecting services for several years, but this is the first time this amount of data collected over an extended period has been processed to produce an overview of ship traffic patterns.

Dr Vincent Kerbaol and Guillaume Hajduch of France’s CLS (a subsidiary of the French space agency, CNES) created the map based on a new ship detection algorithm they developed. Using this algorithm, they processed near-real time products from Envisat’s Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) from 2002 to 2009.

Hajduch calibrated the products they retrieved from the ESA archive and then, because ships appear as bright points in radar images, identified the bright pixels located in marine areas.

Despite the fact that ships are more energy efficient than other forms of commercial transportation, many marine engines operate on extremely dirty fuel that causes large emissions of air pollutants like sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

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