In PLP2020 we worked towards creating a reference target for the scientific community, and extending deployment duration in real conditions with the construction of semi-permanent targets. In PLP2021 we will test our reference target for its duration in real environment. A dedicated mooring system will anchor the plastic target in our new experiment position, in Gera Gulf, Lesvos Island, Greece. 

Project Description

Calibration and validation data are necessary to develop algorithms, asses their quality and define their limitations. The project outcome is expected to be essential for the development, calibration and validation of marine debris detection and quantification algorithms that use EO data, including aerial images from drones.

The use of UAV images to assist in the calibration, validation and verification of marine debris detection methods using open access satellite data will be further explored and evaluated. Presently, the spectral and especially spatial resolutions that can be achieved using UAV platforms is much greater than that of open access satellites. As such, the inclusion of UAV imagery that can be directly collated with satellite data can provide a valuable contribution to the development of a sophisticated detection algorithm. The very high spatial and spectral resolutions that can be achieved using UAV platforms suggest that it is possible to use UAV imagery to discriminate between different polymer types and accurately estimate the consistency of marine debris. In addition, with the increasing UAV flight times and payloads, a marine detection algorithm that can be consistently applied to both satellite and UAV imagery can prove specifically useful. The present project aims to provide essential input towards the effort to effectively resolve the global marine debris problem.  

Location of the construction and final testing for the execution of the experiment

The specific objectives of the PLP2020 project are:

  1. To create a proper database of floating plastic litter containing images, in real environmental conditions with target materials and composition representative of what is observed in ocean waters. This database will be used calibration and validation of detection algorithms and processors, providing explicit ground-truthing capabilities. Drone imagery and GPS devices will be used to locate the targets in high positioning accuracy, aiding to validate pixel abundance fractions.
  2. To assess the ability to detect floating marine debris with the help of open EO data provided from Sentinels missions and other VHR third party data. Target is to define a minimum detection threshold for marine debris abundance fraction in a mixed pixel.
  3. To assess the capacity of accurately quantifying plastic debris in a given water pixel. Examine the minimum threshold for quantification of marine debris in a fraction of a mixed pixel and categorize the types of debris.
  4. To scale up the automatization on an algorithm for the detection of marine debris contaminated water pixels, using satellite imagery data.

The PLP2020 is funded from European Space Agency’s OSIP (Open Space Innovation Platform) scheme with partners the CNR-ISMAR (Italy) and AS Proteas Ltd (Cyprus). Also, the project is supported from the Intermunicipal Port Fund of Lesvos.

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Funded by

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