NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-E4.01-7832 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 035175)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Innovative Tools and Techniques Supporting the Practical Uses of Earth Science Observations
PROPOSAL TITLE:Ocean Surface Current Vectors from MODIS Terra/Aqua Sea Surface Temperature Image Pairs

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Geospatial Insights, Inc.
1103 Balch Blvd, Suite 211
Stennis Space Center ,MS 39529 - 0001
(228) 688 - 2175

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ronald   Holyer
1103 Balch Blvd, Suite 211
Stennis Space Center ,MS  39529 -0001
(228) 688 - 2378
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

Satellites that record imagery of the same sea surface area, at times separated by a few hours, can be used to estimate ocean surface velocity fields based on the apparent motion of patterns observed in a pair of images. Human interactive, statistical, model inversion, and feature correspondence methods have all been applied to this problem in the past. Previous methods used Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data, which offered only long time separations, and geolocation inaccuracies that were often detrimental to the accuracy of the retrieved velocity vectors. Also, the previous methods were developed as scientific studies, and as such, require scientific sophistication or computing facilities that make them poor candidates for commercialization. This proposal addresses the development of a new method that uses genetic algorithms to minimize a cost function based on conservation laws and dynamical constraints. The method will utilize Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery that has important improvements over AVHRR imagery. Surface current estimates are important to forecasting drift of harmful algal blooms, oil spills, downed pilots, lost boaters, and free-floating mines. Many of these applications are crucial to decision support systems that NASA is currently supporting or investigating for future support.

NASA is planning work related to the use of NASA data and models to enhance decision support systems (DSS) operated by other agencies. If this SBIR is successful it gives NASA a new asset to apply to this objective. Because of the daily global coverage and no special hardware is required, the MODIS surface currents product is better suited to current NASA DSS objectives than other alternatives.

The DSSs NASA is studying include some with high socioeconomic impact, e.g., mapping and predicting the drift of harmful algal blooms and drift and dispersion of oil spills. If successful our algorithm will make significant contributions to both of these.

The applications listed as NASA applications are in collaboration with other federal agencies such as NOAA and EPA which will then share in the benefit from this work.

A non-NASA application would be commercial fisheries. There are already commercial companies that supply fisherman with daily sea surface temperature maps. A surface current product would augment the SST product and enhance the utility of the satellite data products available to fisherman.

Homeland security concerns also have application for coastal currents. Search and rescue and drift of free-floating mines are among the applications for current data.