2009-2011 News Items
08 Oct 2010 - OI Maps Oregon's Kelp Resources
Extending on its expertise in kelp resource assessments in California and Alaska, Ocean Imaging was contracted by the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to conduct a state-wide survey of kelp beds along the state's coast. Taking advantage of a combination of favorable low-tide, sun angle and clear weather conditions, the OI team acquired the needed imagery this week with its DMSC multispectral sensor. The Oregon Dept. of Forestry provided OI with an aircraft - a Partenavia Observer. In addition to spatially mapping kelp beds along the Oregon coast, OI will utilize multispectral algorithms developed in previous NASA-funded work in Alaska to quantify the amount of kelp present into actual biomass values. The ODFW utilized resident fishermen to collect actual field samples of kelp biomass in portions of some of the imaged kelp beds to be used for both calibrating the algorithms, and evaluate measurement error in the remote sensing-derived biomass assessments.
19 May 2010 - OI participates in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response
On 5/1/2010 OI's oil spill mapping team was summoned to the Gulf by NOAA and British Petroleum to provide our capabilities during the vast response to the Mississippi Canyon 252 oil spill. NOAA has provided OI with one of it's Twin Otter aircraft on which OI mounted its multispectral color and thermal IR instruments. Guided by daily-changing imaging target priorities from the various Command Center groups, the OI team is flying daily (and sometimes twice-daily) missions, mapping the oil's extents, weathering state and thickness. So far, OI's data have been used to: 1) help provide input and validation data for NOAA's oil spill trajectory forecast models; 2) document the effects of surface and subsurface dispersant applications; 3) provide recognizance and documentation of the existence and thickness of oil at the far boundaries of the spill; 4) map oil reaching the shoreline.
The image data are processed while still airborne and immediately after touchdown. Fully processed oil state/thickness maps are disseminated to multiple Command Centers as they become available within 2-3 hours after the flight mission. A simplified map product specifically designed to help guide oil recovery vessels will also start being disseminated in near-real time this week. "Through our MMS research project, we were planning do conduct some testing and demonstrations in the Gulf this coming fall," said Ocean Imaging's president, Dr. Jan Svekovsky, "but fate quickly turned the planned demo into the real thing." OI's high resolution oil thickness mapping provides much needed information not obtainable from satellite images which generally cannot be used to discern and unrecoverable thin oil sheens versus thicker oil accumulations that can be skimmed or treated with dispersants.
08 Mar 2010- OI Receives US Dept. of Interior's "Cooperative Conservation Award"
OI's oil spill mapping work funded by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and California Dept. of Fish and Game's Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) has been selected for the 2010 Cooperative Conservation Award by the US Dept. of Interior. The collaboration of federal (MMS), state (OSPR) and corporate (OI) teams has led to the development of new oil spill response technologies that have already improved response activities in several recent oil spills in California. The award ceremony will be conducted in Washington, DC in May, 2010.
01 Mar 2010 - OI Aawarded SeaGrant Funds to Map Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
California Sea Grant has awarded OI a 3-year grant to generate a high resolution baseline data base of natural resources in estuarine, intertidal and shallow subtidal areas related to the newly created Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in North-Central California. The project also includes annual mapping of kelp beds over the entire region and persistence analyses aimed to establish the pre-MPA variability in kelp and estuarine resources using time series of historical and recently collected data. "We are very excited to become part of the MPA-related studies", said OI's president, Dr. Jan Svejkovsky. "We will be collaborating with numerous academic research teams who will get access to our aerial remote sensing technologies through this program."
17 Dec 2009 - OI receives New Funding for Oil Spill Mapping System Development
The US Minerals Management Service is providing new funding for further development and testing of OI's oil spill mapping system. The 16 month project aims to expand the use of the system into arctic environments and waters with very high sediment loads. The work will involve field tests along Alaska's North Slope and in the Gulf of Mexico. Cold water development work is also planned for winter months at MMS' Ohmsett facility in New Jersey where the relationships between oil film thickness in near-freezing waters and its signature in thermal IR imagery will be investigated.
02 Oct 2009 - OI maps M/V Dubai Star Oil Spill in San Francisco
On the morning of 10/30/2009 the M/V Dubai Star tanker was refueling approximately 2.5 miles south of the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco Bay. Around 7am the heavy fuel oil began escaping from the refueling system and into the Bay. A multi-agency response was quickly mounted and the Unified Command authorized OI to mobilize from San Diego and image the resulting spill. OI mobilized within 2 hours of the notice and imaged the spill on both 10/30 and 10/31 with its multispectral visible/thermal IR system. The processed GIS image data were made available to Unified Command via a web server within 30-40 minutes of image acquisition. The interactive server was developed by OI specifically for California's Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) in a previous project. The image-based products were used to guide recovery operations and to ascertain that all recoverable oil has been located. This is the second time that OI's newly developed oil spill imaging system was used operationally - the first time was in December, 2008 during a spill from an offshore oil rig in the Santa Barbara Channel, California.
Rapid determination of oil thickness patterns within a spill at sea is vital for efficient planning and management of spill response activities. Presently such determinations are made almost solely by airborne visual surveys which require specially trained observers and are prone to errors due to variations in illumination, water color, and other environmental conditions. Our goal is to eliminate the subjectivity of visual assessment techniques by developing a computerized portable imaging system that could provide detailed maps of oil-on-water thickness distributions in near-real-time.
We are developing this system for the California Dept. of Fish and Game's Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response. The goal is to allow rapid access to various types of information during an oil spill response by both office and field personnel, as well as aircraft and ships using wireless data links. Maps of the spill's extents obtained with satellite or aerial imagery (see above) can be immediately uploaded into the system and combined with other important data bases (e.g. shoreline Environmental Sensitivity Indices, locations of response equipment, etc.). The ArcIMS-based system is being tested for multi-agency use during several large-case oil spill exercises.