US: CSA Ocean Sciences is using remote sensing and GIS technology to map shoreline sensitivity to oil spills in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) is a widely used system for ranking and classifying shoreline sensitivity based on characteristics such as degree of wave energy, potential penetration of oil into the substrate, and natural oil retention times of the shore type. This type of information is crucial to mitigate the potential impact of an oil spill.
CSA GS has developed a technique to acquire, examine, and interpret high-resolution, georeferenced satellite imagery and assign ESI Shore Types to digital shoreline segments in GIS. The technique can be applied to any shoreline in the world for which an understanding of coastal environments is of interest.
Because the work occurs within the spatial framework of GIS, it enables the integration of other layers of spatial data such as sensitive resources, oil spill model trajectories, environmental sampling designs, and response plans. Once integrated into GIS, the shoreline classifications can also be made available online through a secure, web-accessible GeoPortal that is designed and operated by CSA, without the need for third-party web publishing.
Source: Offshore Shipping