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Summary of Proposal OCE0633

TitleSmall Immigrant Boats Detection
Investigator SILVA, VICTOR - European Commission (EC) - Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC)
Team Member
Research Scientist ( Greidanus, Herman - European Commission (EC) - Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) - G04 - Maritime
Scientific Officer Gabban, Andrea - European Commission (EC) - Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) - G04 - Maritime
SNE - Seconded Natio Acosta, Francisco - FRONTEX, Operation- Sea Border Sector
Research Officer (MS Kolev, Zdravko - FRONTEX - (The European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at, Research and Development Unit
SummaryObjective: To establish the performance of TerraSAR-X for small (5-8 m) boat detection. Approach: Satellite images can be optical or radar (SAR, Synthetic Aperture Radar). Although optical images contain more information, it is crucial to use radar to be independent of clouds. In 2008, a first trial was done with Frontex; Radarsat-1 and -2 and TSX images were acquired (TSX via Infoterra) of areas where small immigrant boats were possibly present. In addition to providing an overview of the “background” ship traffic, the 2008 trial was aimed at two different aspects: • Detecting small boats when they are crossing the sea; • Detecting small boats while still on the beach awaiting departure. The 2008 detection results could not be confirmed due to lack of adequate ground truth. In either case (beach or sea), although we think it is possible to detect the small boats with satellite, in fact we know very little about the actual performance. To make a decision whether satellite imaging should be used for these applications, we must quantify the detection performance. That is the aim of this proposal. The only way to find out the small boat detection performance of satellite images, i.e. to know how often we can expect small boats to be detected, is to make controlled measurements. A controlled experiment means that an image is taken of a known situation. It is proposed to acquire a number of satellite images of small immigrant boats which have been put out especially for that purpose, both on the sea and on the beach. Both Radarsat-2 and TSX images will be acquired – this experiment will take place in any case regardless of the acceptance of this proposal with Radarsat-2 images. Putting out the boats will be done by a MS authority; they will use real immigrant boats that have been impounded in past operations. The results of the TSX (and Rsat2) image analysis (vessels detected or not, their position, size, orientation) will be compared with the ground truth data, which is perfectly known because the boats were put on site to be measured. Data requirements: 6 HS images (3 HH, 3 VV) for boats on the beach; 6 SM images (dual pol HH+HV) for boats on the sea. Deliverables: A scientific publication giving an assessment of the performance of high-resolution satellite SAR (Radarsat-2 and TerraSAR-X) for small boat detection. The assessment is quantitative (although based on only several scenes). Funding: All parties fund this work from their normal internal research budgets. Note that this is a relatively small study.

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