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Earth and Sea Observation System (EASOS): Marine pollution

Deepwater horizon spill. Courtesy of Kris Krug, Wikimedia Commons

Completed project

Project start: December 2016  |  Project end: June 2018
Funder: UK Space Agency
Principal Investigator: Dr Rory Donnelly
Other participants from PML: Dr Andrey Kurekin, Dr Daniel Clewley, Dr Graham Quartly, Dr Mark Warren, Dr Peter Land, Laura Harris, Steve Groom, Thomas Jackson

The Earth and Sea Observation System (EASOS) is a platform designed to provide high value decision support to tackle country-specific environmental, security and human challenges. Through intelligent fusion of data from terrestrial and satellite sources, EASOS provides knowledge on a wide variety of topics to different government departments.

EASOS currently tackles three challenges which represent a serious social and economic threat to Malaysian people – flooding, marine pollution and Illegal logging – but this is just the beginning. In future, EASOS could also support the monitoring of many other activities, such as renewable energy, illegal fishing and precision agriculture.

PML is leading the development of the marine pollution system which combines the key data sets of satellite imagery, in-situ measurements, oil transport modelling, ship detection and modelling into one place to enhance the quality of the intelligence that can be gathered in marine pollution events. This is particularly important as Malaysia is responsible for monitoring one of the busiest trade routes in the world – the Malacca Straits. Consequently, Malaysian waters suffer from high pollution rates.

The main aims of the project are:

  • To integrate techniques for the identification of maritime oil pollution from satellite data with models to produce forecast and hindcast predictions of the source of the pollution and the destination.
  • To deploy two autonomous sensor platforms in a sector of the Malacca straits with the purpose of detecting oil pollution.
  • To integrate remotely sensed data with AIS (Automated Identification System) and the SeaWeb service to gather actionable intelligence of maritime oil pollution.
  • To model landing locations of maritime oil pollution in relation to fragile ecosystems and coastal communities for clean-up and future policy support.


By providing decision-makers with the right information in a single dashboard, EASOS assists in planning, prevention and post-event response strategies, enabling them to realise long-term sustainable benefits to the Malaysian economy, environment and civil protection.

Using EASOS, governments will have the ability to address major national issues through a single platform, rather than investing in a different system for every issue. The EASOS architecture allows fast and flexible development of satellite-based tools and application tailored to each new specific issue.