HiSea demo video conference webinar presents port-sector uses, asks users for feedback

The EU-funded HiSea project hosted a live 90-minute video conferencing webinar on 4 June 2020, on how ports can benefit from high-resolution water quality data.

The workshop drew more than 60 participants during which the HiSea platform tools for use of the port sector were demonstrated and feedback and input from potential end-users were encouraged.

“The more user input, feedback and further ideas we have, the better we are able to address needs and adapt the services to what end-users need in their daily operations,” HiSea project managers said.

The central segment of the webinar was the demonstration of the water quality monitoring tools by Pedro Galvão of HiSea partner Hidromod. He began by comparing the resolution of live satellite imaging – from the quite recent ‘norm’ to what is available today via HiSea partner ARGANS. Pixel size has improved to the level of detail to show a container in the port.  Furthermore, forecast models allow users to assess likely future situations and fill in the gaps of what cannot be seen in the satellite image alone.

Galvão dedicated particular attention to demonstrating the tools for simulating oil spills, and the interactivity of the platform, allowing e.g. quick identification of ships in the area and access to relevant webcams with the click of a button, giving remote users real-time eyes on the ground and on the sea surface.

Galvão noted that a public preview will be available soon, allowing users to access and interact with the HiSea Platform and tools directly. “The technology is close to magic,” Galvão commented, calling the improvement in satellite imaging for water quality monitoring “completely mind blowing.”

He added that the HiSea platform is characterised by its high degree of flexibility, and the added value of its ability to merge different data sources together with the satellite imaging data.

“The information generated from the combined data sources is presented in a way that is easily accessible to the user,” Galvão said. Moving forward, HiSea is open to incorporate additional data inputs, as well as receiving contributions and ideas from end users to further develop this advantage, he added.

An important aim of the video conference was to relate to questions from participants and learn about the interests and concerns of potential end-users. Public availability of spill simulation results and users’ ability both to allow and to control outside access to their individual results and data were discussed, as well as the reliability and accuracy of the data and tools.

HiSea partners stressed that the data are reliable, accurate and sustainable, as it is provided by EU frameworks reasonably guaranteeing its production for the coming several decades, and the quality of the data are being continuously improved. Such improvements are seen in emerging products allowing for even higher quality data on various water quality parameters.

Commercialisation and access to HiSea services and tools on the part of NGOs and public sector stakeholders were also discussed. The HiSea team and external consultants are working on a business model and business plan to provide the services effectively and sustainably.

“That is the goal,” HiSea project management staff noted, adding that “the more feedback we have on the use of services, and how they respond to potential users’ needs, the better, including comments and feedback on our line of thinking and information on how end-users are currently managing with the systems in place now. The more end-user information we receive, the better.”

“We are ready to help environmental NGOs in any way possible,” said HiSea project coordinator Prof. Ghada el Serafy of Deltares, urging such organisations to contact the HiSea team to discuss how the platform can be of service to them. The HiSea team is eager to hear more about public sector needs and potential uses in order to better accommodate them, she said.

Participants also asked about the possibility of transferring the simulation and forecast tools to other areas for use in additional ports, as well as the choice of DIAS platform used.

El Serafy called on potential stakeholders to sign up for the HiSea newsletter and continue to follow the project progress.