Improving Oil Spill Response Through Integrated Geospatial Reporting Tools and UAS Protocols

Principal Investigator

The Harte Research Institute (HRI) is working with Research Planning, Inc. (RPI) to develop products and tools designed to enhance the Texas General Land Office’s (TGLO) oil spill planning and response capabilities — tools that could ultimately benefit the entire oil spill community. HRI and RPI will support TGLO by providing the following:

  • Development of standardized Resources at Risk (RAR) reports and Best Management Practice (BMP) to support spill planning and response: This work will include researching methods to have the RARs and BMPs spatially enabled. In tandem, the RAR and BMP documents will allow spill responders to have information about resources at risk on‐hand to inform operations and planning in the early stages of spill response and mitigate damage to natural resources.
  • Integration of the Upper (NOAA – 2012) and Lower Coast (TGLO 2012) of Texas Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) data layers into a more consistent structure while still following the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ESI data schema: RPI will review the two existing datasets and develop a strategy for integration in partnership with TGLO. The goal of this effort is to improve ease of use by TGLO staff for spill planning, drills, and during spill response emergencies.
  • Research and develop protocols to update existing ESI data and develop tools to improve the functional use of these data: The tools will be value‐added products that work on top of the existing NOAA ESI data structure and geodatabase deliverables.
  • Research and development of protocols for using small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) to provide rapidly quantitative data on beach morphodynamics and beached oil distribution during an oil spill response: This work will help establish the capabilities of sUAS for spills on Gulf of Mexico beaches and provide protocols for integrating sUAS assets in a response.