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Blog: Successful Workshop on Solutions for Maritime Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is especially important in the Baltic Sea, where thousands of vessels of all sizes are sailing at any given time. It is possible to select the optimal route with sufficient situational awareness.

Situational awareness improves reliability in sudden extreme circumstances, such as in poor ice conditions or unexpected emissions of pollutants into the sea.

Participants from industry, research and governmental organizations

A workshop was organized on 12 February, the primary aim of which was to present the results of the BONUS ESABALT project to the Baltic Sea maritime stakeholders. The Workshop was a success with over 60 registered participants from industry, academia, research and governmental organizations from the wider Baltic Sea Region.

Other core themes addressed during the Workshop were related to the existing challenges and technology gaps for maritime navigation and situational awareness, especially in the context of the Baltic Sea, and innovative state-of-art solutions under implementation to bridge these gaps.

Impressive keynotes

The highlight of the Workshop were the keynote talks from Professor Michael Baldauf (World Maritime University, Sweden) about e-Navigation and its role in perfecting maritime alarming, Egbert Schwarz (German Aerospace Centre, Germany) about DLR's platform for providing near real-time solutions for maritime situational awareness in the Baltic Sea using data from European space satellites, and Tommi Arola (Finnish Traffic Safety Agency, Finland) about the EU Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) and digitization issues in the maritime domain.

Andris Andrusaitis from BONUS Secretariat complemented the technical keynotes by presenting an introduction to the BONUS program while also describing its role in incubating innovative research for the benefit of an improved Baltic Sea ecosystem.

The WOW factor at the Workshop came during the presentation from the VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) when Dr Eija Kaasinen presented a video showing their vision about the Future Bridge Concept, which was developed together with Rolls-Royce.

Crucially, the Workshop had a strong representation of other BONUS projects in the list of speakers, such as BONUS STORMWINDS, BONUS GEOILWATCH, and BONUS ANCHOR. Maritime Industry was also well-represented, with speakers from Arctia Oy (Finland), Sup4Nav LLC (Poland), Furuno Finland Oy, and Marorka (Denmark). The diversity of the topics was evident through the inclusion of presentations related to aerial remote sensing, environmental monitoring, and winter navigation.

Enlarging cooperation

BONUS ESABALT Project Coordinator Professor Heidi Kuusniemi was inspired by the workshop: "In future, we would like to enlarge cooperation to improve situational awareness at sea and develop crowdsourcing methods."

BONUS ESABALT (March 2014 – Feb 2016) is a Flagship Project under the EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region Policy Area on Maritime Safety and Security (PA SAFE), whose goal is to investigate an open platform for information crowd-sharing related maritime situational awareness from vessels of all classes sailing in the Baltic Sea. This data resource will then be exploited for providing innovative value-added services related to maritime safety, intelligent navigation, and environmental monitoring and reporting, back to the contributing main users.

This Workshop marks the successful completion of the BONUS ESABALT project. If you would like to learn more about the project results, please visit the official website.

The speaker presentations from the SIMSA 2016 Workshop are accessible at:

Sarang Thombre
Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute
BONUS ESABALT Project Manager