Decision support system for managing oil spill events

Iphigenia Keramitsoglou, Constantinos Cartalis, Pavlos Kassomenos
Environmental Management 2003, 32 (2): 290-8
The Mediterranean environment is exposed to various hazards, including oil spills, forest fires, and floods, making the development of a decision support system (DSS) for emergency management an objective of utmost importance. The present work presents a complete DSS for managing marine pollution events caused by oil spills. The system provides all the necessary tools for early detection of oil-spills from satellite images, monitoring of their evolution, estimation of the accident consequences and provision of support to responsible Public Authorities during clean-up operations. The heart of the system is an image processing-geographic information system and other assistant individual software tools that perform oil spill evolution simulation and all other necessary numerical calculations as well as cartographic and reporting tasks related to a specific management of the oil spill event. The cartographic information is derived from the extant general maps representing detailed information concerning several regional environmental and land-cover characteristics as well as financial activities of the application area. Early notification of the authorities with up-to-date accurate information on the position and evolution of the oil spill, combined with the detailed coastal maps, is of paramount importance for emergency assessment and effective clean-up operations that would prevent environmental hazard. An application was developed for the Region of Crete, an area particularly vulnerable to oil spills due to its location, ecological characteristics, and local economic activities.

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