SIMONA – (S)atellite assets (I)ntegration for (M)aritime situati(ON) (A)wareness, project initiative in the frame of ESA ARTES20 program. NAIS in cooperation with Engineering Ingegneria Informatica (Prime of the project), and together with qualified SMEs operating in the Maritime sector, as Calearo, NESEA, Alma Sistemi and Techsema, has prepared this proposal of Research and Innovation under the ESA – ARTES 20 (Integrated Application Programme).

The Project is co-funded by industrial parties and aims to provide an information platform that can complement and enhance existing Maritime situation awareness services operated by Italian Coast Guard and Navy, and with functional advantages also for other stakeholders like Port Authorities, bathymetry mapping Authorities, Merchant ships, Insurance Companies.

Seabed changes due to subsidence phenomena in marine areas of high or critical traffic of ships can realize high risks during navigation and/or docking operations, and major problems and costs to authorities for vessel traffic control or rescue of stranded ships.

The costs in terms of fuel and lives in rescue operations at sea, as well as measures of border control or monitoring in critical areas can be very substantial and strongly impacted by knowledge of information on marine environment (maritime situation awareness).

Many actors involved in the above cases (merchant ships, port authorities, supervisory authorities, rescue authorities to the sea) declare their interest in technologically advanced systems demonstrating capacities to bring advantages on safety and/or efficiency of the operations, and their willingness to test and validate them.

Aware of maritime issues (of which the above are only a part) National and European authorities strongly promote ICT integrated solutions in order to create new applications or services that aim to improve the safety of people, property and the environment in the maritime field.

Having realized the potential of space assets and connected services in relation to some specific user needs in the maritime sector, both for civil and defense scenarios, the SIMONA Team intends to build on its skills to assemble and provide specialized integrated services matching those needs.

For this purpose, in line with the National AeroSpace Plans promoted by ASI and coherently with the objectives of the ESA ARTES 20 Program, analysis and integration activities will be performed in relation to services belonging to the three existing satellite assets (Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation,Earth Observation), with particular emphasis on National and European assets such as ATHENA FIDUS,EGNOS (GALILEO in the future), COSMOS SKY MED and Copernicus, along with information and / or operational services coming from other National and International assets.

A useful integration of the satellite assets will be favored by the experience and expertise gained by the project partners in other projects, systems and services in the maritime sector (e.g. PERSEUS, BlueMassMed, SAGRES, CLOSEYE) and will allow SIMONA the provision of pre-commercial services, with attention to safety and security aspects applied to “dual-use” operability.

Main Objectives of SIMONA are therefore:

  1. To contribute to the generation of an enriched Common Operating Picture (eCOP) through integration of different information sources (e.g. Earth Observation, Weather and Oceanographic information, acquisition of collaborative user-generated local pictures), and in compliance with eventual reference standards. This will realize a baseline set of integrated information building a common domain related frame for applications capable to be used in dual-use scenarios;
  2. To support the operations of Maritime Surveillance through navigation and satellite communication services, characterized by safety, integrity, accuracy and reliability features;
  3. To apply EO and GNSS technologies in the deployment of applications capable to match concrete user needs related to safety of navigation over changing seabeds.

SIMONA Services – brief list

  1. Support for safer routes over changing seabed and sea surface.
    applicable to scenarios like: safe navigation and docking on ports and river mouths,
  2. Support to the optimization of operations for vessels-based bathymetric mapping.
    applicable to scenarios like: Bathymetric Mapping Operations performed by Hydrographic Institute of Italian Navy;
  3. Support to Search & Rescue operations through detection, tracking and tracing of vessels, and optimization of search radius.
    applicable to scenarios like: leisure boat adrift, rescue of boats of illegal immigrants;
  4. Support to surveillance operations through detection, tracking and tracing of vessels, and detection of behavior patterns.
    applicable to scenarios like: collaborating vessels (e.g. trafficking, rendez-vous, etc.), anti-illegal immigration;
  5. Maritime Common Operating Picture enrichment (eCOP) through acquisition of local pictures generated by collaborative users, and integration of other information sources (e.g. Earth Observation, Meteo/Oceanographic data).
    applicable to scenarios like: leisure boat adrift, rescue of boats of illegal immigrants, collaborating vessels (e.g. trafficking, rendez-vous, etc.), anti-illegal immigration, anti-pollution;
  6. Monitoring of specific interest areas.
    applicable to scenarios like: Fishery control, illegal-building, access to critical or strategic areas, anti-illegal immigration, anti-pollution.

Long-term objective for the SIMONA Project is finally the development of synergies between its services and other relevant services in the sector, such as those promoted by the EU Programme CISE (Common Information Sharing Environment), those supported by the EU FRONTEX, or those managed by EMSA(European Maritime Safety Agency): CleanSeaNet, SafeSeaNet, IMDatE. Compared to these SIMONA could provide additions and improvements relating to coverage of the monitored areas (e.g. for oil spill detection), completion of traffic data in relation to the non-cooperative vessels (No AIS).

For any additional information, please refer to NAIS project leader: