MARISA, the European maritime-surveillance and -security project

The state and security of the world’s seas is a matter of global concern. Bad practices and the ensuing environmental impact are causing irreparable damage to the marine environment. Within the European Union, moreover, many socioeconomic interests are clustered in the coastal zones; it is indeed the area with the world’s highest density of commercial ports.

This sector chalks up gross earnings of nearly 500 billion euros a year for Europe’s political community, so keeping up a preventive posture is just as important as taking corrective measures. The EU is now concentrating on the ongoing task of setting up more efficient security- and surveillance-systems. It now runs several maritime-project-financing programs designed to minimize humankind’s environmental footprint, fend off natural disasters, detect unlawful activities or cut down the number of maritime accidents, among other measures.

One of the most important of these up-and-running projects is the Maritime Integrated Surveillance Awareness (MARISA) initiative, nearly 82% funded by the European Commission under the umbrella Horizon 2020 program.

The overriding aim of MARISA, which kicked off in May 2017, is the integration of Big Data with multi-sensor data-fusion; this groundbreaking technique involves the mining of data from different sources to glean useful, top-quality information, applied in this case with maritime security in mind. This will be made possible by a set of interoperable tools that give easier access to data generated by various technological resources that are currently in operation.

The project consortium, led by the Italian multinational Leonardo S.p.A., includes 21 companies from 9 different EU member states. GMV is one of these partner companies, playing a standout role in the project. It is responsible for system design, the development of several data-fusion and anomaly-detecting algorithms, as well as the Spanish and Portuguese trials to be held in collaboration with the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Portuguese Marinha.


On 16 and 17 January GMV’s Tres Cantos head office hosted the 2nd User Community & Innovation Management Meeting, a MARISA stocktaking meeting. It brought together over 50 attendees including consortium partners, end users and representatives from the industry, research centers and agencies to weigh up the project to date and define operational trials and scenarios. The meeting also helped to share knowledge, swap notes and profile project-user requirements.