Supporting Nearshore Pipeline Construction with Satellite Imagery


Saipem S.p.A, an Italian oil and gas industry contractor, subsidiary of Italian energy company ENI, had planned to design and construct pipelines in the Caspian Sea. However, this type of work entails intensive dredging, which involves moving underwater sediments from one place to another and thus disturbing water quality.

Traditional water quality monitoring techniques, such as sampling at sea and laboratory analysis, present logistical and operational inconveniences as well as long processing times. This is often incompatible with a company’s need to obtain real-time information. In addition, field observations and measurements, while frequent, are not able to provide a complete and exhaustive spatial answer to describe all the phenomena in progress. Solutions to monitor water quality and compliance – also known as sea turbidity – rely more and more on satellite imagery.

Planetek Italia, a company specialising in geospatial value-added products, deliver water quality reports to Saipem. They contacted Airbus Defence and Space as they needed to get very detailed information, at random and unforeseeable times, in the shortest timeframe.

Solution & Results

Airbus Defence and Space had to guarantee daily and flexible access to imagery. Pléiades Instant Tasking subscription was the ideal and cost-effective solution. Planetek placed 5 Instant Tasking orders through GeoStore. Thanks to a fully automatic process, all the images were delivered in just 2.5 hours after acquisition!

Planetek quickly extracted the information needed from the imagery and delivered an analysis report to the end-user, Saipem. The result was a quantitative and spatial definition of the dispersion of sediments during dredging operations.

Saipem was thus able to receive near-real-time overviews of the dredging impact during the execution of their work. The satellite imagery based information was used by the company to report their compliance with environmental norms to authorities as well as to increase their efficiency in monitoring all ongoing events during the execution of works.

Airbus Share Your Story Planetek Italia Sea Turbidity
Airbus Share Your Story Planetek Italia Sea Turbidity


  • Efficient Time Management: 24/7 Instant Tasking service availability through GeoStore, Pléiades guaranteed acquisitions and rapid deliveries.
  • High Accuracy: Saipem benefited from reliable water quality monitoring thanks to Pléiades high resolution, enabling detailed dredging activity assessment by Planetek.
  • Cost-Efficient: Instant Tasking subscription enabling access to information without sending people on site.

Solution Description

Instant Tasking is a 24/7 web service that enables users to request and get a new satellite image directly from their laptop, in full autonomy, in just few hours. The customer’s request is transmitted directly to the satellite with a maximum priority level. The image is acquired, produced and delivered as quickly as possible. This service is available with Pléiades and SPOT 6/7.

Organisation Involved


Planetek Italia is a company specialised in geo-informatics, Space solutions, and Earth Observation. They provide solutions to exploit the value of geospatial data through all phases of data life cycles, from acquisition, storage and management to analysis and sharing. They operate in many application areas ranging from environmental and land monitoring to Open Government and smart cities, including defence and security, as well as scientific missions and planetary exploration.

“We are proud to be able to offer near-real-time services thanks to the fast and reliable tasking service offered by the Airbus Defence and Space satellite constellation. The availability of these capabilities really boosts the opportunities for value-added service providers to offer real solutions to customer needs.”

Sergio Samarelli, Planetek CTO



Acquire VHR imagery at the last minute to satisfy the customer’s need for information and responsiveness.

Solution & Results

Rapid delivery of Pléiades products with the Instant Tasking service for the production of a quick water quality report.


Efficient timing management by the customer and time and cost efficiency for the end-user.

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One Atlas – The World’s Freshest Satellite Image Basemap

This month Airbus Defence and Space launches One Atlas, a satellite imagery basemap, which covers the entire planet with up-to-date data and is immediately available online. The service has been designed to meet the unique requirements of the oil, gas and mining industry – providing images, fresher than one year and available 24/7, via a secure and private online platform. The new service gathers GIS-ready, ortho-rectified imagery to accurately map or measure distances and surfaces, whilst providing increased aesthetics due to atmospheric and light corrections, managed by Airbus’ team of in-house experts. Due to this consistent and homogeneous global coverage, One Atlas allows the preparation of ground scouting activities as areas can be easily mapped and activities planned with the up-to-date and consistent imagery. One Atlas also provides the essential intelligence for engineering projects and to plan or oversee the construction of new infrastructure, such as production facilities and pipelines.

In addition, One Atlas can be used as an effective tool to monitor the environmental impact of decommissioned sites, with the atmospheric and light corrections facilitating visual change assessment and the accurate monitoring of an area of interest over time.

Airbus Defence and Space’s experts ensure that seasonal effects, such as haze and clouds are kept to an absolute minimum through a process of careful manual selection – ensuring only the very best sections from each capture are retained. Another advantage of the service is that it’s taking care of everything – updating, selecting, processing and hosting all satellite imagery data for you, which makes the use of satellite images easier and faster. The streamlined nature of the new service’s workflow allows customers to save money and time when images are required. Once integrated with your own data, One Atlas facilitates native collaboration and data sharing across your organisation. The service can also be used to plan, map and locate your teams, assets and areas of interest wherever they are with ease – allowing customers to devote more time to their core mission.

Select the One Atlas option which best suits your requirements:

  • OneView – A cost-effective and consistent snapshot of the globe

    This streamlined basemap is the first choice when a clean and affordable solution is needed. Airbus Defence and Space selects the imagery to compute each yearly vintage so no effort is needed on your end to define which image to put on top

  • OneLive – A top quality, never ageing basemap

    A perfect solution for applications where freshness is essential. We are constantly updating pixels of the basemap, giving you access to most up-to-date images, but also to the historic images.

One Tasking – Committed to Delivering Imagery

Picture Any Place, Anywhere, Any Time at Any Resolution

From feasibility studies and infrastructure planning, to facilitating a rapid response in case of an emergency, One Tasking is on hand to assist your operations and to enable you to make critical decisions with confidence.

Tasking Airbus Defence and Space’s satellites has provided crucial business intelligence to the oil and gas industry for decades. As the first to offer satellite tasking over 30 years ago, it is set to revolutionise the satellite imagery market once again with One Tasking. The new, streamlined and easy-to-use offer is a very reliable satellite-tasking service. With its commitment to delivering only the most useful results when and where you need them, One Tasking substantially reduces risk levels when tasking a satellite and provides greater value for users.

Agile Tasking

With full access to Airbus Defence and Space’s exclusive optical constellation, satellites can be tasked based on your specific requirements, giving you the agility, availability and reactivity you need.

In one recent example, Airbus Defence and Space’s customer tasked the optical, very high-resolution Pléiades satellite to map a pipeline corridor – the detailed satellite maps of the 600km long pipeline corridor were provided in 12 easy-to-use segments, which immediately provided the customer with the right level of detail and situational overview to make appropriate decisions.


The Right One Tasking Product for Your Requirements

Regardless of how unique your satellite tasking requirements are – Airbus Defence and Space’s range of One Tasking options offers the right solution to your specific needs.

OneNow – Access Useful Information in an Instant

When facing an emergency and staff or physical assets are at risk – such as an explosion at an oil storage facility or the illegal tapping of an oil pipeline – immediate access to accurate information is crucial.

Operations are often located in the world’s most remote and dangerous locations – which do not allow easy access for an emergency response team or to gather rapid and usable information on project development. OneNow enables you to task a satellite with a high priority giving you fast and useful insights, with a commitment to limit cloud cover, into your specific area of interest. Integrated weather forecasts over the Area Of Interest help you pick the right acquisition slot, whilst you have agile access to our variety of large swath and very high-resolution sensors. This, for example, allows the detection of emergency source points, when confronted with an explosion or fire, and also allows you to identify critical areas nearby which might be at risk and require evacuation.

OneDay – Get an image within hours

Imagery acquisition for a specific day is now risk-free. A weather forecast will give you the possibility to confirm, postpone or cancel your acquisition at no cost. This enables you to rapidly access precise information, whatever the conditions, to understand and organise a response when confronted with an unplanned incident. For example in the case of a rig explosion or fire, you can task the satellite in emergency and get the image acquired within hours, allowing you to identify critical areas nearby which might be at risk and require evacuation.

OnePlan – Obtain qualified coverage within an agreed timeframe

You select your timeframes, dates and preferred sensor – we ensure you receive the right, qualified coverage according to your plan. This allows you to plan needed coverage for exploration purposes, provide you with information about your assets, or check site restoration after end of exploitation.

OneSeries – Get coverage on a regular basis

OneSeries provides you with images on a regular basis. Obtaining repeated coverage of the same area of interest allows you to detect environmental and infrastructure changes, reliably monitor the development of facilities and transportation routes or to regularly assess the safety of your staff and equipment on site, which will be directly delivered to you – no matter where you are.

One Tasking key benefits:

  • Commitment to delivering useful information for your operations
  • Industry-leading success rate and financial compensation in case of non-compliance with requirements
  • Flexible sensors, agile tasking, ultra fast delivery
  • Advanced reactivity and satellite availability
  • Simplified order, accessible online 24/7

Increasing the Efficiency of Oil and Gas Operations with SAFEcommand™

Based on our expertise and exclusive collaboration with first responders, we developed the SAFEcommandTM system and software suite, which advances knowledge-transfer across oil and gas project teams and improves operational efficiency. The software provides real-time location intelligence for staff and vehicles, integrated operations planning and response, as well as full mobile data and satellite communications, which helps to meet critical objectives effectively. SAFEcommandTM addresses four essential areas:

  • Data management
  • Asset tracking
  • Mobile information retrieval and communications
  • Emergency/ non-emergency preparation and response

 A central place to manage data

Potential oil leaks, illegal pipeline tapping or damaged facilities due to terrorist attacks are just a few examples of potentially significant emergencies – each requiring access to up-to-date intelligence, as well as strategic tools to plan an effective response. SAFEcommandTM allows decision-makers to effectively respond to emergencies through the provision of relevant spatial and non-spatial data, as well as identifying the location of available resources, such as staff and vehicles, which facilitates the effective allocation of team-members in close proximity to an incident.

The software application also allows rapid sharing of up-to-date information with onsite personnel to inform on-location decisions and activities.

 Not only during emergencies

SAFEcommandTM provides teams with the latest data, which allows an optimised resource use and minimises the time required to carry out operational tasks, such as maintenance or repair work.

The GIS based central management system ScCapture enables organisations to capture and store spatial and non-spatial information such as procedures, pipeline schematics, operational manuals, images and video on a secure, easy-to-use platform.

The right information to the right person at the right time

As oil and gas organisations often operate in remote regions and decision-makers might not be located in the same areas, it is critical that emergency response information is quickly shared and delivered to relevant on-site teams when facing urgent issues. SAFEcommandTM offers a number of communication tools, which allow the distribution of relevant information to team member’s mobile devices.

As part of this offer, ScResponse is a vehicle-mounted data system, which allows bi-directional messaging and navigation, as well as the capability to share operational information with the vehicle’s driver. ScGateway is a mobile data gateway, allowing secure real-time, two-way communications routing, giving people access to the right datasets at the right time. If information needs to be automatically pushed to teams – ScCourier provides an advanced automatic information update service, distributing data via a variety of network options (WAN, LAN, WIFI, GPPRS, 3G, 4G and satellite).

Tailored to your operation

As every oil and gas operation requires unique functionalities, we tailor the core SAFEcommandTM software or its full solution to your specific requirements and processes to ensure the system’s functionalities exactly meet your objectives.

Key features and benefits:

  • Easy-to-use, intuitive GIS-based systems
  • Central platform allows effective data consolidation and management
  • Spatial and non-spatial information data can be easily shared with and accessed by operational teams
  • Improved response time due to resource tracking and management tools
  • Supports multi-agency data sharing
  • Tailored to your specific requirements and operational processes

Aspire Mining Achieved Cost and Time Savings Using Pléiades 3D for Rail Infrastructure Planning

Company / Organisation(s) involved

Aspire Mining Limited is a partnership of Mongolian/Australian interests, focused on the development of world-class premium coal deposits in Mongolia.

Whilst Aspire operates across Mongolia, a current focus is the development of the business’ flagship ‘Ovoot Coking Coal Project’ in northern Mongolia. The Ovoot Project currently has a probable JORC Compliant Coal Reserve of 255 Mt of coking coal and is classed as the second largest coking coal reserve in Mongolia.

The success of the Ovoot Project is dependent on the development of essential rail infrastructure to connect it to the Trans-Mongolian Railway at Erdenet in northern Mongolia. This aspect of the project is being driven by Aspire’s Mongolian infrastructure subsidiary, Northern Railways LLC.



With mineral resources regularly being discovered in some of the world’s most remote, inaccessible locations, a common challenge for those involved in exploration is identifying new transportation routes and likely challenges related to bringing the products to market.

This was precisely the challenge faced by Aspire Mining’s Mongolian rail infrastructure subsidiary, Northern Railways LLC. It was responsible for connecting Erdenet to the remote exploration location Ovoot. However, before ground could be broken, extensive pre-feasibility studies were necessary for governmental approval and to cost-effectively identify the infrastructure required.

Solution & Results

Airbus Defence and Space was contacted by Aspire Mining through its local distributor Geomaster to deliver detailed maps and elevation data for specific areas of interest in Northern part of Mongolia. The purpose of the request was to facilitate the effective planning and engineering of the essential rail infrastructure required to connect the Ovoot project with Erdenet.

Using its extensive expertise and state of the art satellite technology, Airbus Defence and Space provided the required high-resolution stereo imagery from its Pléiades satellite constellation.  The optical Pléiades satellite constellation provides premium, high-resolution imagery (50 cm), with a worldwide daily revisit capability in record time and the capacity to deliver stereo and tristereo maps.

Aspire Mining local partner, Geomaster LLC, then used the delivered images to establish control points on the ground before Airbus Defence and Space’s team were able to develop the 3D vector map. This exclusive data set provided information on terrain features, such as elevation, buildings and roads, as well as cultural landmarks and potential obstacles and became the core tool for Aspire Mining’s desktop engineering project, used to identify the most direct infrastructure route and conduct all pre-feasibility studies.


Following delivery of the desktop engineering project, Aspire Mining was able to progress regulatory approvals from the Mongolian Government for its pre- feasibility study. However, the biggest benefit was a much shorter and more direct route between Ovoot and Erdenet being discovered, positioning the rail line further south than originally planned.

The area was fully acquired from the beginning of October to the beginning of December 2013 within 2 months, just before the winter. And the processing of 1:5000 scale topographic map was generated during the winter time within 4 months which helped Aspire to start engineering studies much earlier than expected.

Furthermore, the new, shorter rail path is also expected to achieve a substantial reduction in operating costs. This highlights the significant financial and risk-minimising potential of satellite imagery based desktop engineering projects, which don’t only help to identify the shortest transportation route, but also include other critical terrain characteristics and cultural landmarks, giving engineers the chance to take all factors for successful infrastructure planning into account.

“With the use of the Pléiades mapping and other technologies under licence we were able to achieve cost and time reductions. This is critical in the early planning stages of major capital project development.”

Matthew Crompton, director of Infrastructure Developement
Aspire Mining Limited


Learn more about Pléiades, our products & services or get in touch.

AAPG International Exhibition & Conference

The annual AAPG SEG International Conference and Exhibition is taking place in Cacún, Mexico on the 6-9 September 2016.

The AAPG International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) is a global geoscience event catered for the oil and gas industry. Exhibiting are almost 100 of the top companies involved in every element of the geosciences industry. The program focuses on issues that affect advancements in global oil and gas exploration technology.

Join us at booth 3-209

View the official event page