A Geo-Database for Potentially Polluting Marine Sites and Associated Risk Index

Giuseppe Masetti
M.S. Ocean Engineering Candidate


Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 3:00pm
Chase 130

The increasing availability of geospatial marine data provides an opportunity for hydrographic offices to contribute to the identification of
"Potentially Polluting Marine Sites" (PPMS). This acronym is used not only to refer to shipwrecks of modern vessels, but also for other types of marine sites such as dumping areas, pipelines, abandoned wellheads, etc. Independently from the specific type, a PPMS represents a potential source of pollution for the marine environment.

To adequately manage these sites, a PPMS Geospatial Database (GeoDB) application has been designed to collect relevant information suitable for site inventory and geo-spatial analysis. In particular, benefits in structuring the data in conformance with the Universal Hydrographic Data Model (IHO S-100) and encoding using the Geographic Mark-Up Language (GML) are presented. A possible practical storage solution is proposed using a GML-enabled spatial relational database management system (RDBMS).

To demonstrate the use of the PPMS GeoDB, an example of a risk assessment method-
ology for a Marine Site Risk Index (MaSiRI) was developed on top of the defined data structure. The main aim of MaSiRI is to allow management of a large number of PPMSs, prioritizing eventual mitigation operations. The prototype implementation was provided by scripts containing spatial SQL statements in an open-source cross-platform C++
application called PPMS GeoDB Manager developed during this thesis.

Finally, a web GIS deployment of a PPMS GeoDB was selected as the simplest way to communicate to the public the collected information, while the related possibility of using the data as a Web Map Service in almost any GIS allows for better development and integration with other regionally and locally available datasets. This deployment required the development of a means to visualize the risk indices and associated confidence factors generated by MaSiRI. A composite Quality Symbol is proposed that combines these terms in a readily accessible manner.

The adoption of PPMS GeoDB Product Specification as part of the IHO S-1XX series would represent an innovative and important contribution from the hydrographic community to reduce, or at least better manage, environmental and economic risks related to PPMSs.


Giuseppe Masetti has served with Italian Navy since 1999 and, in 2008, received a Master Degree in Marine Geomatics (University of Genoa, Italy). After a period aboard the hydrographic vessel ITN Aretusa as Operation Officer, he achieved the FIG/IHO Category A certification. In addition, he graduated (with honors) in Political Sciences in 2003 from the University of Pisa (Italy), and in Diplomatic and International Sciences in 2004 from the University of Trieste (Italy).

In 2010 he started a Ph.D. program in System Monitoring and Environmental Risk Management at the University of Genoa. At the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, he is studying Ocean Engineering, mainly focusing on various issues related to the implementation of the new S-100 data model and the management of potentially polluting marine sites.