How can the responders of an oil spill operation make sure that the Common Operating Picture (COP) gives the situational awareness that is needed? How can the response personnel avoid producing and consuming so much data that the COP gets overloaded with information? How can the users differentiate the “need to have” from the “nice to have” data? And what type of information do response personnel need offshore, and is that same information relevant for the Incident Command Post?
These are some of the questions that NOFO has discussed with the Norwegian Coastal Administration, our partner in the project “Web based map solution”. The project has so far developed a shoreline response tool, consisting of a web map solution and a mobile application (App). With the “Shoreline App” you can collect data in the field, take pictures and video, view oil contamination, and quickly communicate this to the web map-solution. This new technology enables the response organisation to document and act faster, more efficient with increased accuracy. The shoreline clean-up module includes SCAT, work assignments and daily reports from the field, as well as statistics and analysing tools.
Inspired by IOGP-IPIECA (2015), NOFO have started to improve the NOFO COP OSR (oil spill response) to cover offshore, nearshore and shoreline operations. The scope for this work is to create a seamless integration of the different data that we receive, especially the surveillance sensor data such as aerial overflights, satellite images, images from ships and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). All the data registered in the system are given a predefined timeframe in which they will automatically be deactivated from the COP. This aids us in managing the data flow, presenting the latest information available, and avoid taking action based on outdated information. A timeline gives either predictions, real time information or historical data, and enables the user to “play off” the incident from Day 1 until the end, or even for a specific period.
The Adaptive interface, which is the platform the NOFO COP OSR uses, features the possibility to build different COP viewpoints for different levels in the response organisation.
The NOFO COP OSR may also be used for communication externally during and after clean-up efforts. The public and press can get limited insight through role-based access.
Based on the collected data, statistics and graphs are easily generated for use in the preparation of reports and presentations.
Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (NOFO) is the oil spill response organisation for the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) currently owned by 20 oil and gas companies (presently 22.03.2017). Every company with production or exploration drilling on the NCS have decided to become a NOFO member. This is partly due to having an efficient and cost-effective oil spill response and partly due to legislation which encourages cooperation on oil spill response.
In order to manage oil spill response operations effectively, it is essential that all assessments and decisions are based on a common operational picture (COP)1. This COP is created using data from a variety of databases, sensors and human sources. In today’s technological society, in which sensors and sensor carriers are developing rapidly, there is now no longer any lack of data / information. The focus is now on the ability to filter information in order to present a simple picture that allows the appropriate decisions to be made within a suitable timeframe. It is also important that the level of detail of the COP reflects the position one holds in the response organisation. Strategic management does not, for example, need to see a live video stream of UAV pictures from a small inlet on the coast, when the event is large enough to span several counties. It is therefore important to provide access portals, so that the COP displayed is the picture required to make the right decisions for the role. This COP should be easily accessible, i.e. avoid IT obstacles such as firewalls and other restrictions. The use of an online interface allows the sharing of COP in a way completely different to anything we have previously seen in oil spill response in Norway.
The NOFO Common Operating Picture Oil Spill Response (NOFO COP OSR) was developed in cooperation with the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) (Figure 1). The system is based on Adaptive technology, and was developed by Asplan Viak Internet AS (www.avinet.no). The project has been ongoing for several years and is still under development. In 2016 a beach cleaning module was implemented, with its own mobile application. This allows a single individual to use the App for Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Technique (SCAT) surveys, prepare response work assignments, produce daily reports and use simple analysis tools. Over the past year, NOFO have further developed the system to manage the entire oil spill response, from operations on the open sea to shoreline activities. The aim is to achieve a seamless integration with the various external systems and sensor carriers we use in Norway ie. aerial surveillance, satellites etc..
Key system features:
Web-map-solution based on the Adaptive technology
Field-solution based on the Android-application Norgeskart (Norway map)
Integrated SCAT tool for shoreline response operations
Access for offline use with local storage of background maps and data
Unified registration in field with high precision - data snapped to the coastline
Records of oil presence, images and video captured in the field synchronizes to server
Building common operation picture in real time / near real time
THE ADAPTIVE 3 PLATFORM
Adaptive (www.avinet.no/adaptive) is an alternative to simple GIS (geographic information system) desktop tools and well suited to publishing maps via web. Adaptive is also suitable for data collection and maintenance, simple geospatial analyses and data editing. Access to data can be differentiated by defined users and their roles. Adaptive Administrator manages the portal and its content through a web interface. Through the administrator new clients can be defined, content included, cartography established and available functions defined. The administrator gives also full control over users and their access.
Adaptive is built on MapServer (http://mapserver.org), a leading open source platform for publishing mapdata, providing APIs (application programming interface) and geospatial functions. PostgreSQL with the extension PostGIS is the world most popular open source database solution and is used as main storage for data and information in Adaptive. PostGIS gives Adaptive extended functionality for geodata. Adaptive can however access a broad range of other data sources, e.g. other databases, shape, GML, etc.
Adaptive can be used as a stand-alone client but can also easily be embedded into other solutions / web sites. A lightweight client is available for embedding if less functionality is required.
Adaptive is designed for supporting desktop web clients as well as mobile clients, e.g. tablets. For mobile phones, limited functionality is available (Øverli, 2016).
WHEN AN INCIDENT OCCURS
Observation of an acute oil pollution at sea, caused by an offshore installation, is usually done by the human eye/nose and/or the sensors on an installation, a rescue vessel or satellite. When it comes to detection of oil spills from satellites, the companies operating on the NCS recently signed, through NOFO, a joint agreement with Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) for a total of 2,400 photographs throughout the year. Each production field is now photographed by a satellite at least every 28 hours. These photographs are made available in NOFO COP OSR through a WMS (Web Map Service) provided by KSAT.
This service will display the last images taken, and the next ordered scenes (coordinates) in a separate preview (Figure 2). If the image show a spill from an operating field, the photograph and the polygon of the oil slick, can easily be extracted and digitalized to an incident created by a Duty Officer. Through access control at the organizational level, access can be provided to operator-specific users in the system (e.g. Statoil personnel), or provide access to specific individuals. Each user is allowed access to the extent to which they can provide information on the incident or they may be granted read-only access. This is done when the user registers as a user for the first time.
The next observations generally come from aircraft or helicopters in the area, or from a vessel with oil radar and/or infra-red cameras. This data will also be fed into a preview in NOFO COP OSR, allowing the Situation Unit to decide which pictures shall be linked to the operational picture for the incident and which shall just be archived.
Four categories have been identified as the most relevant. The latter three are displayed as polygons with different colour codes (Figure 3):
No oil on surface
Oil on surface - unverified (e.g. observations by the public/satellite)
Colour code = Grey with dark grey border
Oil on surface - verified (e.g. observations by emergency responders and/or sensors on aircraft/helicopters)
Colour code = Grey with red border
Oil that we can respond to (mechanical, dispersants, in situ burning)
Colour code = Dark purple
This makes it easy for oil spill responders to plan what position the oil spill resources should be directed to. Six hours post initial observation, the polygon will automatically be deactivated from the COP. This is to avoid decisions being made on the basis of old data and sending resources to the incorrect position. Oil pollution on the sea is a transient feature and will constantly move with the wind and current, as well as evaporate and mix with the water (natural weathering).
The user can retrieve the polygons of the oil slicks by clicking on historical incident data. By using the analysis tool the user can see everything that is registered on an incident or for just a period, or use a timeline to play the incident from the start (Figure 4). Other data that are registered can also be given a predefined timeframe in which they are active. Examples on such data is observations of oiled wildlife, pictures and videos taken from the field and stranded oil observations.
Weather forecasts and oil drift calculations can also be incorporated and played by using the timeline. The Norwegian Meteorological Institute delivers trajectories to both NCA and NOFO and has recently developed a new online service called “Halo” which allow the simulations to be carried out via the web. After running an oil drift simulation in Halo, the NOFO COP OSR retrieve a netCDF (Network Common Data Form) zip-file that contains all the raw data needed for digitalizing the oil drift simulations in NOFO COP OSR. This means that it will always be in historical data, which will, after each incident develops, become an archive. The new trajectory model allows trajectory retrieval not only from a single release point but also from multiple polygons like oil slicks (Figures 5 and 6).
DATA SOURCES AND MANAGEMENT
As a rule, NOFO insists that all data used must be obtained, whenever possible, directly from the original source. All map layers and associated information must be obtained directly from the data owner at the same time the map layer is activated. For this reason, WMS and WFS (Web Feature Service) services are primarily used, allowing data from the most recently updated data to be found. As regard to resources that NOFO have agreements with, such as vessels and equipment, NOFO has a policy that these must only be updated in one location. By adopting a SQL (Structured Query Language) database, NOFO has customised a system to suit our needs. NOFO has agreements with approximately 140 vessels and 1500 responders. All skills, course participation, equipment lists, etc. linked to each resource can be found in this database and can only be updated therein. It is from this database that data is picked when a user clicks on the map to get more information. Clicking on one of the NOFO bases the user will receive information on what equipment is available there, whether it is operational or not, and when it was last tested (Figure 7).
The same applies if a vessel is selected via the AIS (Automatic Identification System) symbol. The user will then be able to retrieve additional information, such as which oil spill capacities the vessel has, which equipment is on board and when it was last on an exercise. Everything is retrieved directly from NOFOs database. When ordering resources, the user will be able to add additional data and link the resources to the incident (see below). In addition to seeing the resources on the map the user can obtain the date in tabular form.
Command and control
Equipment and personnel overviews
Status (On route – Assigned – Staged – Out of service)
ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)
When the industry and the Norwegian authorities get better bandwidth across the NCS, or improved ways of transferring data packages, NOFO and NCA will be able to develop the system so that each vessel can write a simple log showing the status of operations and enter daily reports directly into the system. This will give an oil budget which is automatically updated in the system, making it easy to provide statistics and evaluation of the ongoing operations.
Adaptive provides two options for choosing which layers the user want to see on the map. One has an advanced map layer selector on the right-hand side where the layers are sorted by topic. There is also a thematic map selector on the bottom left, which are used as COP viewpoint (access portals). Based IOGP-IPIECA (2015), the project group have learned that providing such viewpoints affords users faster access to the operational picture needed, and a person need not be a super user to get the correct information. If the user then click on the access portal called Strategic Management, the system will automatically activate the map layers that are predefined as of interest to this level, and these will extend across the various topics that is shown on the right side. A user can also predefine whether there are any layers that must be available in the access portal, but which are hidden by default to avoid creating too much noise on the map by activating everything at once. This makes it easy for the user to click map layers on and off as required via the access portal (Figure 8).
Following functions are chosen to provide access portals in the first release:
With the Shoreline App that has been developed, data can be collected in the field, pictures and video acquired, oil presence recorded and quickly communicated to the web map-solution. A test-team of experienced people working with both the Full City (2009), and Godafoss (2011) spills in Norway, has ensured rigorous testing from the users during this development-process.
The process of collecting data and making them available for the responders has been substantially improved by this new technology. In the past registration started in the field with pen and paper and was then further processed by manually logging the data in the map solution. This would at best be done the same evening, which in hand makes for a time-consuming process before a COP was established (Figure 9). With the current tool registration is done in the field through a mobile application which immediately makes the data accessible for the Incident Command Post (ICP). A common operational picture is established in real time (Figure 10).
By introducing standardized objects and survey forms like SCAT, that attaches to a detailed coastal contour, the new map-solution provides consistent and accurate data. Once the data is synchronized with the server, the information is accessible for all parties involved through the map-solution. This gives a more accurate picture of how much and how many metres of shoreline are contaminated and enable the response personnel to better prioritize during planning, allocating resources and estimating costs for recovery operations (Henriksen 2015).
Shoreline operations are divided into the following phases:
Following the decision to inspect the coastline, SCAT teams are established and allocated specific areas to inspect. Before going out to the inspection area, the detailed coastal contour of the area to be inspected is downloaded (Figure 11).
The GPS function of a tablet is then used when out in the field. The snap feature for the coastline allows accurate data to be registered, even if the inspections are carried out from a vessel. In Norway, several areas have poor or no infrastructure along the coastline, making inspections from land impossible. In which case, access using a boat is the only option. The snap feature can also be switched off during the inspection if the SCAT team wish to inspect outside the coastal contour.
The SCAT methodology is adapted to Norwegian conditions and has been implemented in the App (Figure 12). This allows registration of:
Beach type (level of exposure)
Oil contaminated beach (extent in metres, thickness, diffusion level, contamination in sediment)
Piers and other man-made structures (ownership, pollution level)
Logistical factors (access, staging areas etc.)
Operational factors (choice of beach cleaning method, the expected number of labour-days etc.).
Georeferenced photographs and video recordings, which are automatically added to the map
If there is a mobile network in the area, the records can be transferred immediately to the server. The response management can then prepare oil spill work assignments based on the same information, simply by pressing a few keys (Figure 13). Even if the user is offline, the inspections and registrations can be implemented identically. The data is exported to the server as soon as internet access is obtained.
After a shoreline response team has been out in the field, the Group Leader can register daily reports through a mobile phone or tablet. These reports describe among others how many metres were cleaned, how many labour-days were utilized, how much oil emulsion that was collected, and so on. These data are automatically registered in the system, same as the data from the offshore operations, and will provide the response organisation with the statistics of the oil budget.
The NCA and NOFO have decided to continue the development of the project into 2017. There is great benefit of doing this together hence it is the same responders that will use the system regardless of the oil spill source. GIS information in spill response embraces multiple aspects and therefore many doors have been opened during this project making it reasonable to collaborate even more then NCA and NOFO have done earlier. The opportunities for utilising the system ranges from training and exercises to the development of guidelines and standardizations.
The project will be focusing on several tasks in 2017. One of them is to make a WMS service that can export all the relevant data from an incident to other GIS systems. Another task is to look at the possibility to develop an effort allocation tool that can help the responders to decide what kind of oil spill strategies and equipment that will be the most efficient way of handling a specific incident. This can also be used when making contingency plans for new production fields on the NCS.
The adaptive platform has also a feature available that makes it easy to the develop a public application, in order to make reporting of observations easier with more eyes on the ground, and our communication out to the public more available.
During the last five years NOFO, and the NCA, have developed a web based map solution which is easy to access and use for all responders in an oil spill incident. By implementing different COP viewpoints for the functions responding to an oil spill, the NOFO COP OSR system have made it easier to get an overview of the situation regardless of ones GIS expertise or location. The response organization no longer need a situation status display to get updated on the current situation and ongoing operations. The flow of data from satellite and air overflights are integrated into the COP, being very specific on what information the users need to have to make the right decisions, i.e. polygons of oil spread in three different categories and predefined timeframes on specific data. The members of NOFO, the oil companies, are so far very satisfied with the NOFO COP OSR, showing great interest in participating in the further development. If the project group keep focusing on the systems ability to export/import data in open source formats, it most likely has a long-life existence in the oil spill response in Norway. NOFO look forward to the further development and improvement of the system.
A powerful, open source object-relational database system
Provides spatial objects for the PostgreSQL database, allowing storage and query of information about location and mapping
A format that is a popular geospatial vector data format for geographic information system (GIS) software.
The Geography Markup Language is the XML grammar defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to express geographical features.
1 A Common Operating Picture (COP) is a computing platform based on Geographical Information System (GIS) technology that provides a single source of data and information for situational awareness, coordination, communication and data archival to support emergency management and response personnel and other stakeholders involved in or affected by an incident (IOGP-IPIECA 2015).