This team is part of the inter-institutional Maritime Safety and Security Lab in Neustrelitz, in which the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) and the DLR Institute of Communication and Navigation (KN) pool their expertise in the areas of satellite-supported real-time systems and maritime traffic engineering. The work undertaken is intended to contribute to guaranteeing safe shipping and protect oceans and coastal waters as well as assist public authorities to combat illegal activities (such as hazardous substance dumping, illegal fishing, and piracy).
The role of the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) at the Neustrelitz Maritime Safety and Security Lab is to develop and validate real-time systems for generating maritime information products from satellite data in a multimission operations environment.
The goal is to provide the information in near-real-time, in other words within 10 to 15 minutes of reception of the satellite data. As a partner in ESA’s MARISS project, it was already possible to demonstrate as an example the provision of products relating to ship detection for anti-piracy efforts within about 30 minutes.
Satellite data received directly in Neustrelitz from several Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) missions serve as primary input data for deriving value-added information products. SAR data are particularly suitable since they can be recorded and analysed independent of the time of day and cloud cover. In the past, data from the ERS-2 and Envisat satellites were used. Currently, data from TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X are preferentially processed. As part of the FP7 SAGRES project capabilities are presently being expanded to include CosmoSkyMed and Radarsat 2 data. In the near future the Copernicus Mission Sentinel 1 should lead to further improvement in the spatial and temporal availability of data.
A large amount of information relevant for maritime safety and security can be derived from SAR data. This includes information about the location and velocity of ships, oil spills, sea ice cover, wind, waves, rough seas and surges, underwater topography and surface currents. At the Maritime Safety and Security Lab in Bremen the corresponding algorithms are being developed by the SAR oceanography team of DLR’s Remote Sensing Technology Institute (IMF). The thematic processors created in Bremen are then integrated into the operational systems of the national ground segment in Neustrelitz and validated as part of projects like MARISS and SAGRES.
As appropriate, SAR data are combined or merged with different types of supplementary data. Sources could be satellite- or ground-based AIS (Automatic Identification System), seamark, or off-shore installation databases, marine maps or weather models. The resulting up-to-date information products are supplied in specific formats to meet user requirements and distributed in a variety of ways.
The research and development activities can be summarized as follows: