(Above) Wind Energy Map

The project aimed to design and implement a protype generic Marine SAR Analysis and Interpretation System (MARSAIS) with sufficient product accuracy and optimum resolution for specific application to the coastal and marine environment. This was achieved by generating a series of MARSAIS sub-systems including:

  • The MARSAIS Database - a web enabled database of multi-source satellite data implemented in IDL on the NET (ION)

  • The MARSAIS Toolkit - a series of selected algorithms and models implemented in IDL. The toolkit demonstrates different geophysical parameters that can be derived from SAR data alone or from synergy with other EO data types, model and in situ data.

The MARSAIS Prototype - a web based demonstrator

The prototype contains products, data sources, algorithms and models, validation information, introductory and didactic material for SAR data and other EO data. The prototype is implemented in HTML, CSS & JavaScript.

The prototype web site also contains additional material in the form of fact sheets on each of the focus applications of MARSAIS. The content of the prototype site is applicable to a wide range of end users e.g. students, novices, experts, researchers.


· Wind and Waves
SAR data can provide detailed quantitative local wind information. MARSAIS validated algorithms (CMOD-4 & CMOD-IFR2) for the extraction of wind speed from ERS SAR & Envisat ASAR data. For waves, MARSAIS developed and validated a new algorithm (ENVIWAVE) for the extraction of wave parameters (height, direction and period) from Envisat ASAR. data.

· Current and Frontal Features
A direct outcome from MARSAIS are new algorithms for the estimation of surface current parameters across ocean fronts and internal waves. SAR data can provide current feature estimates including, surface current gradients over shallow water bathymetry, converging and diverging current systems, mesoscale eddies and internal waves.

· Slicks
Within MARSAIS enhanced algorithms for the detection and classification of oil spills were developed and validated for both ESR SAR & Envisat ASAR imagery. In addition, an oil drift model was successfully developed and validated for the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

· Synergy
The combination of data from several sensors and satellites can make an important contribution to coastal & marine monitoring. As well as increasing the spatial and temporal coverage, this synergy also offers opportunities to advance the analysis and interpretation of remote sensing data. MARSAIS produced an interactive toolkit developed for comparative analysis of multi-source satellite date (radar, visual & IR).

End User Assessment

A pivotal component of MARSAIS was the assessment of user requirements for SAR data in the coastal and marine environment, undertaken by the CMRC. MARSAIS identified and involved potential end users of SAR data and generated end user feedback which in turn was fed into the development of an operational MARSAIS prototype focusing on sea state, (wind and wave), oil spills/slicks, surface currents (and internal waves) and synergy.

MARSAIS generated end user feedback and fostered interaction with end users from the coastal and marine community by:

  • Disseminating a questionnaire on the use of SAR data.
  • Communicating directly with individuals via phone/e-mail and utilising mailing lists to promote MARSAIS activities.
  • Attending conferences and trade events over the course of the project.
  • Hosting three dedicated workshops on the use of SAR data in the coastal and marine environment.

The following are some key results:

  • The issue of cost was cited as a significant limiting factor in the use of SAR data.
  • Capability (training and skills) and capacity (infrastructure) also influence the use of SAR data in the coastal and marine environment.
  • There is potential for the further development of SAR data. This potential can be realised through continued basic and applied research into SAR applications in the coastal and marine environment.
  • The examination of current features, shallow water bathymetry and pollution incidents were the preferred applications.

The findings and recommendations to emerge from MARSAIS are of relevance to GMES. Detailed analysis of the end user feedback is contained in the
User Requirements Document.