During the summer of 2016 Water Mapping engaged on a project with NOAA and BSEE to evaluate remote sensing platforms. As part of this project, we collaborated with a number of industry specialists on testing a diverse array of remote sensing platforms. Our mission was focused on the assessment of satellite remote sensing to characterize oil thicknesses. This project is composed of two phases: Phase one is the evaluation of technology on a controlled environment as Ohmsett, and Phase two is the assessment of the instrumentation on the field.

On this project we were able to utilize Water Mapping UAS system composed of an octacopter rigged with FLIR and SLR cameras. This UAS system was used to record the evolution of the oil emulsification and its aging process at Ohmsett so it could be correlated with Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite data, which is the main tool used by NOAA/NESDIS to support oil spill response with space-borne observations.


The UAS system used at Ohmsett during the tests. The power of the eight rotors of this UAS enabled us to carry multiple cameras on independent gimbals. One of the advantages of this UAS system configuration is its ‘Lightbridge’ video system, which enables multiple monitors to receive the video signal ‘live’ from any of the UAS cameras on high definition. This signal has been tested and remains strong within a two-mile range.

On addition to the satellite remote sensing collections, we were able to test a new oil sampling system developed by Water Mapping. This system is based on the concept of the Van Dorm water sampler. It utilizes a triggering mechanism (operated remotely) that allows trapping water inside the tube. This system allowed us to collect oil thickness measurements on specific areas of the tank. This video shows the system design and its operation during the Ohmsett experiments.

The Water Mapping oil sampler traps the oil on polyacrylic tubes. These samples are analyzed on a portable photography set up as shown on this video. High resolution photography of the line where the oil is resting on the tube allows to measure the thickness of oil by knowing previously all the dimensions of the tube.

Water Mapping Flir Summary (Ohmsett).

Water Mapping Oil spill sampler (Ohmsett test).

Oscar Garcia

Watermapping Director

Tel: (361) 244-6575