Balloon Surveillance for Oil Spills

FY 2009 | 2 – Respond | 9/10/11

Balloon Surveillance for Oil Spills

Rob Campbell, Prince William Sound Science Center
Contract Term: 04/01/09 – 12/31/09
Award: $84,600

Scope of Work:

Oil spill response is highly dependent on being able to find the oil in order to ensure that cleanup operations are properly directed. This is commonly achieved by using airborne observers and observations on the boat. Weather and darkness limits the ability to have flights, and the distance that observers on a boat see is limited by their height off the water. I am proposing to demonstrate a technology that can greatly increase the ability to observe from a boat, which will also work at night. Specifically, I propose to demonstrate the utility of using a set of visible and infrared cameras attached to a tethered balloon to increase the height of the observations. The system will transmit its observations wirelessly so all boats in the nearby area would be able to share the observations. The balloon approach does not have the strict Federal Aviation Administration regulations that have limited the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles. The balloon can also be deployed for longer periods of time than other sensors. The system will be tested during the Alaska Ocean Observing System demonstration project in Prince William Sound in the summer of 2009. The system will then be made available to oil spill response organizations to test

Download Report: 09-10-11_final2.pdf