Ocean Visuals provides integrated sensor systems and software for real-time oil spill detection. Ocean Visuals has developed sensor products based on Hyperspectral Lidar technology which has the following advantages in detecting oil spills:

  • Classifies type of oil in the water (crude oil, hydraulic oil etc)
  • Measures the thickness of the oil on water
  • Detects oil under the water surface (submerged oil)  up to 3 meters
  • Operates in light and complete darkness and in harsh weather conditions
  • Real-time data feed for early warning of oil spills
  • No false alarms due to the fact that HLIF LiDAR detects oil specifically by sensing direct light response induced by laser beam hitting oil molecules in water
  • Ppm measurement sensitivity level if needed, thus also suitable for post-cleanup monitoring after dispersants have been applied
  • Suitable for Arctic conditions, as it detects oil between ice floes, ice slush and camouflaged oil

Data is visualized in a map-based graphical user interface in real-time and is available on web and iOS platforms and as desktop applications (Windows, Linux).  The map user interface is built to handle low bandwidth situations, with possibilities for offline maps combined with online up to date information. The solution can be used on workstations onboard the vessels or oil rigs as well as being a strategic management tool on shore. The software allows to set alerts on different user levels and easy reporting. The data is securely stored in a cloud database.

The Lidar can be mounted on the side of a vessel or on any other fixed offshore structure.

Our technology is based on 25 years of R&D and is patent pending.

"Development of an Oil Spill Detection System based on information and laser remote sensing technology" (EU46064)
The project is supported by EEA Grants, specifically under Green Industry Innovation Estonia program.

The project overall goal was to deliver a complementary solution for Oil Spill Detection addressing the current technology gaps (harsh environments, precision, verification) and to provide service capabilities to tend the needs of the decision makers (data management, delivery and presentation).

Our aim was to develop a new monitoring system that  provides continuous detection of oil pollution specifically in harsh conditions, including icy waters and submerged oil, and combine classification capabilities with real-time data collection, analysis and mobile map-based visualization.

When implemented on vessels patrolling a ship route, it  constitutes a distributed warning system for monitoring marine waterways with high spatial resolution.

The complete system  includes laser sensors (HLIF - Hyper-spectral Laser Induced Fluorescence LiDARs) capable selectively to detect part per million concentration of oil in water, a cloud-based data management and map-based applications for decision making. Our key goal is that information about an oil spill reach as quickly and intelligently as possible decision makers, enabling them to respond efficiently. This reduces the environmental damage and operational cost caused by an oil spill.

The system was developed for unattended continuous 24/7 operations with minimal technical maintenance. The result is an early warning system for oil pollution with better detection for harsh environments and classification capabilities than existing surveillance systems.

The first sensory equipment prototype was mounted on the Norwegian Coastal Administration's latest oil-spill protection multi-purpose vessel OV Skomvær in December 2013 for testing capabilities of the real-time detection system in Norwegian waters; in the spawning grounds for Atlantic cod. In June 2014 we moved the location and mounted the Lidar laser on OV Utvær, a vessel in operations on the west coast of Norway.

In March 2015, the HLIF LiDAR was tested on board of the icebreaker SAMPO during the Arctic Oil Recovery Exercise & Conference 2015 in Kemi, the Gulf of Bothnia of the Baltic Sea, Finland. The Full-Scale Oil Recovery Exercise on 24-26 March 2015 was managed by Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).

Since March 2015 we have continuously monitored the Norwegian waters on-board Hurtigruten cruise vessels MS Midnatsol and MS Trollfjord. Real-time feed from the ship’s sensor can be found here.

The sensor system is named Oil-in-Water Locator, OWL™. We have tested the solution in harsh conditions in polar regions and the Gulf of Mexico, aboard ice breakers and seismic vessels operating in +55 degrees heat.

The full map based web application including more statistical data can be reached here: As a result of collaboration between partners  Industries Holding and LDI Innovation, the project has been formed into joint venture, Ocean Visuals. See more details on

Project facts:

ICD Industries Estonia OÜ, Tallinn LDI Innovation OÜ, Tallinn ICD Software AS, Ålesund.
680 000 Euro in funding grants through Norway Grants.

 Bilderesultat for norwegian ministry of foreign affairs logo

More information about Ocean Visuals:


Ocean Visuals AS offices:

Hundsværgata 8, NO-6008 Ålesund, Norway
Osmussarre 8D, EE-13811 Tallinn, Estonia

Phone: +47 21 50 71 00


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