Ocean Scan – Marine litter detection from Earth and space


What is Ocean Scan?

Ocean Scan is a labelled database created to promote collaboration and research in the field of marine litter.

Ocean Scan collects in once place global in-situ observations of marine litter and automatically associates their corresponding Earth Observation images from different missions.

Ocean Scan also provides a standardized approach and tools to access, collect and classify in-situ marine litter data. These tools currently consist of a web portal for data navigation, upload and download and a mobile application for data upload.

How can I access Ocean Scan?

Ocean Scan can be accessed via web portal, mobile application and API.

  • The web portal is designed to access, upload and download data and create campaigns.
  • The mobile application is designed to collect and upload data in real time.
  • The API can be found here

What type of data can I find in Ocean Scan?

We are currently interested in:

  • Large accumulations of marine litter that can be aggregated in filaments or patches, or single items if sufficiently large (e.g. fishing nets). The dimension for single items to be included in Ocean Scan should be of minimum 1 m².
  • Large accumulations of floating matter without marine litter, e.g algae or sea foam.
  • Observations can be either of litter floating on the water (sea, rivers, lakes) or litter accumulated on the shore or on land especially if close to waterways.
  • We encourage sharing validated data by, e.g.”
    • handheld/proximity cameras.
    • clear high resolution or very high resolution images (type of images accepted: drone, plane, satellite, GPS camera, ecc)
  • Minimum metadata requirements:
    • Date and time stamp
    • Latitude and Longitude
    • Image

We are currently not interested in:

  • Microplastic (unless being part of visible accumulations of floating matter)
  • Observations in indoor environments (laboratory, facilities)
  • Data lacking accurate geolocation and/or time-stamp
  • Synthetic images (i.e. simulated accumulations). These images will however be ingested in the database in the future

If you are in doubt whether your observations meets or not the requirements, please contact us.

Who can use Ocean Scan?

Everybody who wishes to contribute. Please visit the section “How to contribute” to know how you can submit your data.

How can I download data?

Once you access a dataset, under the section “Data” you can download the metadata in svg format.

If you wish to access the Sentinel satellite images, please follow the link under each image. In order to download images, registration at ESA Scihub is needed.

To register, please click here. The service is free of charge.

For more information please visit https://www.copernicus.eu/en/access-data

What missions are included in Ocean Scan?

Currently Ocean Scan has the capability to match the provided observations with the images from Sentinel 1, 2 and 3. Future development will integrate more missions, including very high resolution imagery.