Trieste Borgo Grotta Gigante, 42/c, 34010 Sgonico, Italy


Research AIRCRAFT (IT1.1)

Research AIRCRAFT equipped with high-tech remote sensing instruments

The Piper Seneca III aircraft, property of OGS, is managed by a team of expert researchers and technicians. It is equipped with the most advanced remote sensing instruments: • Lidar sensor Riegl LMS-Q560 • Hyperspectral sensor Specim Aisa Eagle 1K (Visible Near Infrared field) • Thermal camera Nec TS9260 (from 8 to 13 μm) • Digital camera Canon EOS 1Ds MkIII (21 million pixels) • Ultraportable Greenhouse Gas Analyzer (CO2, CH4, H2O) The performance of the system is very high. The aircraft can operate to a maximum height of 1500 m. The Lidar sensor can reach a spatial accuracy of 40 cm in xy and 15 cm in z axes. The hyperspectral sensor has a pixel of 70 cm for an average flight height of 1000 m; the band number can be set up to 252. The thermal camera has a pixel of 50 cm for an average flight height of 800 m. Orthophotos derived from the digital camera can reach up to 16 cm pixel on the ground. The GHG analyzer has a precision up to 300ppb for CO2 and up to 0.6 ppb for CH4. Applications of the remote sensing equipped aircraft are mostly environmental. The hyperspectral sensor allows the monitoring of vegetation health (evaluation of stress on vegetation caused by greenhouse gases). The presence of these gases can then be directly detected in the air with the Ultraportable Greenhouse Gas Analyzer. The thermal camera analyze the temperature of vegetation and any changes in the ground related to the presence of gas. With the Lidar dataset it is possible to have a precise Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the surveyed area, while the orthophotos are useful to visually identify the phenomena in the surveyed area.

State of the Art, uniqueness & specific advantages

The equipped Piper Seneca III will be part of EUFAR (European Facility for Airborne Research), thus operating in a European context. The instrumental equipment has been used to perform remote sensing surveys in several European projects, including CO2GeoNet, where it allowed the detection of CO2 leakages in natural laboratories (Latera, Italy and Laacher See, Germany). It will be used to monitor CO2 leakages also in the off-shore natural laboratory of Panarea island (Sicily, Italy). This aircraft is unique because it integrates different instruments on board and can eventually accommodate additional new equipment provided by researchers. Data acquired are processed by the Remote Sensing Group at OGS, where some multiparameter interpretation techniques for leakage detection have also been developed.

Scientific Environment

The aircraft can operate over the whole European territory. It can be used to perform accurate remote sensing surveys over wide areas, onshore and offshore (especially coastal areas). Data collected can be easily geographically referenced and integrated with other data, for joint analysis and interpretation. OGS personnel will organize the logistics and will decide the most proper time and atmospheric conditions for the acquisition, in accordance with the user. When necessary, training on processing and interpretation of remote sensing data will be provided.

Operating by


Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale
STORAGE technologies:
Leakage, Leakage mitigation/remediation, Monitoring
Research Fields:
Geology/Geophysics, Remote sensing, Monitoring
Facility's fact sheet

Location & Contacts

Trieste Borgo Grotta Gigante, 42/c, 34010 Sgonico, Italy
Paolo Paganini
RICC Contacts - Secondary contact
Cinzia De Vittor

Facility Availability

Unit of access (UA)
Availability per year (in UA)
Minimum 5 days
Duration of a typical access (average) and number of external users expected for that access
1 Day

Quality Control / Quality Assurance (QA)

Activities / tests / data are
State of Quality: No risks are associated to the present facility

Operational or other constraints

Specific risks:
Any survey will be performed only under good weather conditions.
Legal issues

CCUS Projects

EU-Funded CCUS Projects
Other CCUS Projects
National Fund
ECCSELNat-Lab Italy
National Fund
National Fund
National Fund

Selected Publications

Submitted to International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control (IJGCC). (2015)
An unsupervised Bayesian methodology for the detection of onshore CO2 leakages under parameter uncertainty
Govindan R., Korre A., Durucan S., Vellico M., Jones D
Proceedings of First EAGE CO2 Geological Storage Workshop, Budapest (2008)
An airborne integrated system to monitor CO2 emissions: preliminary results in the Adriatic seashore
Vellico M., Sterzai P., Creati N., Coren F., Vidmar R., Persoglia S.
Proceedings of GHGT9 - 9th International Conference of Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Washington D.C. (2008)
Rapid monitoring of onshore CO2 storage sites
Pearce J., Bateson L., Beaubien S., Ciotoli G., Jones D., Joseph C., Lister B., Lombardi S., Shaw R., Vellico M.
International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control (IJGCC), volume 2, July 2008, pp. 388-400 (2008)
The application of remote-sensing techniques to monitor CO2-storage sites for surface leakage: Method development and testing at Latera (Italy) where naturally produced CO2 is leaking to the atmosphere
Bateson L., Vellico M., Beaubien S.E., Pearce J.M., Annunziatellis A., Ciotoli G., Coren F., Lombardi S., Marsh S.
Atti del XXXVII GNGTS 2018 - Sessione 3.2 (2018)
The Undersea Malta - Gozo tunnel project: Geophysical investigations.
D. Spatola L. Facchin, L. Petronio, F. Zgur, L. Baradello, M. Deponte, E. Forlin, F. Coren, R. Blanos, E. Gordini, R. Romeo, A. Affatato, P. Paganini, A. Pavan, D. Cotterle, G. Visnovic, A. Barbagallo, G. Cristofano, P. Galea, S. Pace, A. Micallef
Marine and Petroleum Geology (2019)
Active degassing across the Maltese Islands (Mediterranean Sea) and implications for its neotectonics
Micallef, A., Spatola, D., Caracausi, A., Italiano, F., Barreca, G., D'Amico, S., Petronio, L., Coren, F., Facchin, L., Blanos, R., Pavan, A., Paganini, P., Taviani, M.
In EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts (pp. EGU21-6570). (2021)
Active faulting offshore the Maltese Islands revealed by geophysical and geochemical observations.
Micallef, A., Spatola, D., Caracausi, A., Italiano, F., Barreca, G., D'Amico, S., Petronio L., Coren F., Facchin L., Blanos R., Pavan A., Paganini P., Taviani M., Baradello L., Gordini, E.