Enhancing Earth Observation for Maritime Domain Awareness (E04MDA) – Phase 1

Project Leader: George Coulloupas

Participants: Leonardo Australia, Deakin University


EO4MDA is ultimately planned to be a multi-phased project aimed at enhancing Earth Observation practices and to generate robust and reliable information about the maritime domain to support the Commonwealth interdict and enforce laws across its Exclusive Economic Zone and coastal areas.

EO4MDA will produce a downstream processing capability to correlate, federate and reason from data sourced through ground, air, and naval-based systems integrated with space-based Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR) data reports generated by the COSMO-SkyMed constellation data, satellite-based optical data as well as satellite-based AIS and SIGINT collections.

This project, EO4MDA Phase 1, is the first collaborative step to test the limits and bounds of new AI/ML/statistics-based processing methods in a realistic scenario employing constrained space-based Earth Observation data. The aim is to resolve operational queries (anomalous vessels and vessel behaviour) put to system in a real world demonstration with maritime decision-makers with space-based Earth Observation.

In particular, it is currently best practice to exploiting non-cooperative characteristics of vessels from space imaging sensors for the detection of anomalies:

  • vessels with failed or malfunctioning GPS and/or transmitting equipment;
  • vessels that deliberately “turn off” the System so as to avoid detection;
  • vessels that, because of their smaller size, are not under the obligation of having an on board positioning system as well as sport fishing vessels;
  • abnormal behaviours