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ORMES (2005-2006) and RESORT (2007-2008)


IMDC conducted a remote sensing research project in cooperation with VITO – TAP and with the support of BELSPO (Belgian Science Policy) to develop a software tool “SEDMAP” that can transform airborne or satellite imagery to maps with suspended sediment concentrations.

Images of the sediment concentration are essential if accurate advice is to be given to select new salvage, dumping locations, harbour/LNG-terminal sites or sensitive areas, to estimate possible movements of sediment clouds and to calibrate sediment transport models. Its spatial resolution cannot be matched by more conventional measurement methods.

To support IMDC in their activities, a software application was developed in the ORMES project (and refined and perfected in the RESORT project) which provides suspended sediment maps from remote sensing images in an efficient way. Our main test site is a part of the Belgian Scheldt Estuary near Antwerp. It is chosen because of the wide ranges of sediment content, IMDC’s thorough knowledge of the river system and its high spectral and spatial resolution. Simultaneously with the airborne campaign a field survey took place. Using these field data and the high resolution airborne data, a reliable semi-empirical algorithm has been developed to derive near-surface suspended matter maps in an operational way. The produced TSM maps show good agreement with known variations of the suspended sediment content over the tidal cycle.

The tool has also been tested at various ongoing projects in Qatar and Panama. These optically different types of waters proved an ideal testing ground for the SEDMAP software. Satellite imagery was obtained simultaneously with and in-situ sampling campaign. In both cases valuable spatial information was obtained on the spatial distribution at a given time of a turbidity plume. The tool is applicable all over the world as long as airborne or satellite imagery is available. IMDC can offer the combined use of remote sensing imagery with an in situ measurement campaign.

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For more information about this project, contact: