A Canadian-German Research Project

MARIN Research Group

The Dalhousie team is part of the MARIN LAB. Created in 1997 by Dr. Ronald Pelot, the MARIN lab is situated in the Industrial Engineering Department and performs analysis related to maritime traffic and risks.

Dalhousie's portion of the PASSAGES project is funded partly by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council -Collaborative Research & Development(NSERC-CRD) and with industry partners, exactEarth Ltd. and Airbus Defence and Space, support.


The aim of the PASSAGES research project is to determine new ways to monitor shipping traffic in the Canadian Arctic using multiple sensors and advanced analytics.

As the ice melts more every year, there is the possibility of more traffic up North associated with various activities such as cruise ship tourism, seabed mining, and offshore oil and gas development. It is important to monitor the traffic using multiple sensors, whether land-based, aerial, underwater or satellite based, so that the appropriate agencies can plan ahead in case of maritime accidents, spills, transiting illegitimate vessels or other anomalous behaviour.

Through this project, our industry partners, exactEarth Ltd. and AIRBUS Defence and Space, are collaborating with researchers at Dalhousie University and at the Fraunhofer FKIE in Germany, to explore new sensor technologies, analysis methods and systems integration options. They also define the needs for improved traffic monitoring. This is resulting in multiple benefits:

  • Improved protection for the Canadian Arctic Ocean benefitting our northern residents and enhancing economic opportunities for northern development for the country as a whole
  • New theoretical developments in the fields of multi-sensor fusion and shipping pattern analysis
  • Business opportunities for new products and services in this domain for our partners
  • Our tasks

    More specifically, Dalhousie is responsible for the evaluation and interpretation of the situation picture and establishing methodologies for conducting traffic-based risk analyses in the Arctic. This includes the following research elements: