The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLIII-B3-2022
30 May 2022
 | 30 May 2022


L. W. Mdakane

Keywords: Maritime Domain Awareness, Sentinel-1, Synthetic Aperture Radar, Vessel Tracking, Oceans and Coast

Abstract. The introduction of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) through the Oceans and Coasts Monitoring Information system (OCIMS) has therefore become a critical tool for operational coastal and ocean monitoring in South Africa. Natural/man-made ocean phenomena can be observed using satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) techniques, making it an integral part of large ocean area monitoring for maritime domain awareness. SAR is an active instrument on-board a satellite platform that transmits electromagnetic waves and measures the returning signal to infer what is happening on the ocean surface. The objective of this paper was to provide information and present options to the decision-makers around sustainability of commercial SAR data acquisition in support of OCIMS IVT. The OCIMS IVT tool identifies ships from multiple types of SAR data, which can provide locations of vessels that have switched off their AIS and oil slicks caused by vessels. Although open-data offerings, such as Sentinel-1, can be considered alternatives to commercial sensors, they present severe limitations for an operational service. To meet OCIMS requirements, and address the imperative to reduce costs, a hybrid of commercial acquisition being used in conjunction with an open data source such as Sentinel-1 is recommended. This would ensure that an operational service with the desired latency as well as increasing the revisit time over the EEZ.