ROCIS – the Remote Ocean Current Imaging System- is an aerial survey payload developed by Fugro and Areté Associates to measure surface ocean currents. This oceanographic measurement tool provides near real-time synoptic surface current data over a wide operational area, while retaining the ability to assess smaller scale current features of interest.  The data can be used in combination with satellite, numerical models and in situ measurements, offering better understanding of offshore current features and enhancing operational planning. ROCIS current data can also support the calibration and validation of predictive forecast models.

ROCIS uses an innovative surface current measurement technique to significantly enhance understanding of ocean surface current phenomena in coastal and offshore areas.  Using high-resolution airborne photography, the system images surface waves and retrieves surface current data from the Doppler shift of successive surface wave images. Current data can be collected at altitudes between 3,000 and 10,000 feet (900 and 3,000 metres). The collection system – comprising two 8.1-megapixel panchromatic digital cameras and an inertial navigation system – can be quickly installed on any survey aircraft with a 19-inch photogrammetric hole.

In addition to significant cost savings per distance surveyed, the key advantages of ROCIS over existing measurement techniques include wider daily coverage, reduced data collection periods, rapid mobilisation, and better measurement resolution.

The system measures the current at the surface, characterising the top five metres of the water column where currents are often the strongest.  This contrasts with  vessel-based techniques that can only begin to provide surface current data at approximately 6 to 7 metres depth. In addition, ROCIS measures synoptic surface currents over a larger area (1000 km track per day), more than 5 times that possible with a conventional surface vessel.

Data deliverables include:

  • Quicklook maps of measured surface currents
  • Real-time measured data provided in ASCII .csv format
  • Data visualised on Fugro’s metocean GIS Portal, METIS
  • Post-processed data at 250 m x 250 m resolution
  • Integrated ocean forecast and advisory bulletins

Accurate and timely measurements of ocean surface current can impact a variety of marine activities, both offshore and in coastal marine environments.

Oil & Gas

Oil and gas operators rely on accurate and timely observations of ocean currents to support the planning and execution of offshore exploration, development and production activities including:

  • Seismic operations
  • Deepwater drilling operations
  • Support for current sensitive construction activities
  • Oil spill response and mitigation
  • Search and rescue

Ocean Forecast and Advisory

Wide area synoptic surface current data can be valuable in characterising offshore conditions and in forecast model initialisation and validation.

Oil Spill Response

ROCIS supports oil spill response events, where the detailed, wide-area information can be used in planning and coordinating response operations and validating oil spill models. 

Search and Rescue

Search and rescue operations use current mapping and information of surface drift patterns to aid emergency responders.

ROCIS combines the operational oceanographic, geospatial, and aerial survey skills of Fugro with the advanced image processing and remote sensing expertise of Areté Associates to provide high resolution surface current mapping over large offshore areas on a near real-time and synoptic basis.

Key Benefits include:

  • Surface current data in near real time
  • Broad area coverage of large ocean circulation features such as eddies
  • High-resolution data for specific locations and smaller scale features
  • Supports reduction of operational downtime
  • Enhances operational efficiency and safety