Ocean Policing- Monitoring Ocean Life for a Balanced Ecosystem.
This article explains how GIS technology is well integrated into ocean management and development.
Did you know, more than 80% of the ocean is unexplored? At least legally.
With the sheer size of the water bodies on our planet, it has been almost impossible to measure their metrics and keep a track of human activities in these zones.
One of the major activities that have carved a black market for itself is fishing.
Illegal, unaccounted, or even unreported fishing accounts for almost 1/5th of all fishing activities, making it almost a quarter of the legal revenue from fishing.
In a world that has been growing in leaps and bounds in terms of technology, satellites that survey the earth 24*7*365 have made this impossible mission look a little more possible- pointing at a brighter future for the ecosystem.
Technology giants have been collaborating with non-profits to project a future where all ocean activity can be monitored at all times with the help of low orbit satellites and remote sensing.
This will create a powerful tool that will play a key role in ocean conservation and curbing of the black market and illegal activities in the water bodies across the globe.
This technology does not only act as a map for ships to avoid collision and estimate route, but it also helps in surveillance activities. These earth observation satellites are used to supplement the already existing system of ship radios.
Ship radios have been a technology that has been used for a long time by sailors and merchant ships to monitor movements, but ships entering the ocean illegally cannot be tracked with this, and thus, it was important to develop a supplementary technology that assists the existing radios.
A few advanced features of this technology in remote ocean patches enable the monitoring of activities such as floodlights, which are commonly used to fish squids.
These satellites help in sea-ice cover management and analysis, forest assessment, oceanography, and other large scale activities that cannot be looked into with the naked eye.
ICEYE, a Finnish startup in satellite technology and radar sensors developed a small radar sensor that could fit in a satellite. This has helped tremendously in the study and research of ice cover, finding areas of danger, icebergs that might be a potential threat, and ocean mapping.
A constellation of satellites implies that the need for aircraft and dependency on ocean currents can be eliminated and ships, vessels, currents, and ocean ice can be tracked real time and without any threat to the environment.
This has not only proven to be cost-effective, but it has also resulted in a decrease in the illegal activities by curbing the black market and making the ocean much more monitorable,
The current generation of low cost, efficient, lightweight, and time-saving satellites has resulted in an exponential increase in geospatial data and the availability of GIS backed technology helping monitor oceans, agriculture, infrastructure and what not.
The sea surface temperatures can be monitored to assess global warming and the impact of globalisation on the water bodies. It also helps understand pressure per unit population on our environment.
Mapping and monitoring oceans do not only help fishing, but they also help in weather forecasts, assess sea level change, colour changes in the ocean that can reflect drastic changes, and even tracking ocean wildlife.
This is one of the major aspects where GIS and remote sensing has enabled us to grow towards a better future by maintaining ecological balance by monitoring our usage, exploitation, and utilisation of one of the major resources on earth- the water bodies.