We develop and manufacture Hyper-spectral Laser Induced Fluorescence (HLIF) based LiDAR (LiDAR i.e. Light Detection and Ranging) sensors for our monitoring systems. As oil is intrinsically fluorescent and emits light in the blue-green spectral range when illuminated by UV light it is easily distinguished from other substances in the water.

Using the Hyper-spectral curve of the emitted light, we can “fingerprint” the sample, and thus receive a real-time identification of oil category and type (crude oil, hydraulic oil etc) on the spot, with no samples or lab analysis required.

Our sensors detect and differentiate between various organic matter in the sea, such as hydrocarbons, algae, CDOM, etc. It is the particular wavelength we use in our lasers that define what substances we are able to detect. For oil in water, we typically use a LiDAR configured at 308 nanometer in order to be able to differentiate and classify various types of oil.

For algae in the water we typically use a laser configured at 530 nanometer to be able to differentiate between algae and other organic matter.

Data are presented in the OWL™MAP online presentation module. OWL™MAP is a map-layer based, real-time user subscriber module which easily provides a situation / incident report when a sensor detects an anomaly at sea. With its sensor database and oil sample database, OWL™MAP quickly presents findings of oil in water; the position, volume (ppm) and type of oil.

OWL™MAP is connected to additional online services, such as Automatic Identification System for ships (AIS). AIS makes it possible to display what vessels were present at a detection point in the hours before a detection was made.

Further, OWL™MAP has an integration with Meteorological data, presenting wind direction and speed, wave height and direction and most importantly for submerged oil; sea current and direction.
In Norway, all aquaculture licenses are marked with their GPS spot in the OWL™MAP, making it possible to warn the salmon farming community of acute oil in water situations:


ALGAE OWL™, SEA OWL™ and Super OWL™ Marine Sensor Systems

OWL™ is a ruggedized, autonomously operating HLIF LiDAR sensor class weighing 43 kg with dimensions of 37x45x65 cm and with a typical measuring range of 15-30 meters. The detector is weatherized to withstand harsh weather such as extreme cold and is well suited for Arctic conditions. SEA OWL™ has also been operated over longer periods under tropical conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Real-time data feed
  • Complete solution consisting of oil detector and oil spill management software
  • Parts per million (ppm) measurement sensitivity level for hydrocarbons
  • Parts per billion (ppb) measurement sensitivity level for phytoplanktons
  • Measures the thickness of the oil on water
  • Detects oil in the water column (submerged oil) down to 3 meters
  • Detects phytoplankton (algae) in the water column down to 30 meters
  • Operates in light and complete darkness and in harsh weather conditions 24/7
  • No false alarms, as the Lidar detects oil by sensing light response induced by laser beam hitting organic molecules in the water
  • ALGAE OWL™ may be mounted as a fixed installation on the side of a ship like a wellboat, a fish feed transport vessel or a service vessel to provide detailed data for an early warning system of algae in the vicinity of sea farms.
  • SEA OWL™ may be mounted on a vessel such as PSV, AHTS, PSO to provide real-time data from ongoing operations. SEA OWL™ is capable of real-time monitoring of produced water discharge area. It is also capable of monitoring an oil storage facility.
  • Super OWL™ is designed with a pan/tilt gimbal, enabling reach within the 500 meter security perimeter surrounding an oil rig.


Sensor data is visualized in real-time via OWL™MAP – a web-based graphical map user interface. OWL™MAP is available on web and iOS platforms and as desktop applications (Windows, Linux). The map user interface is built to handle low bandwidth situations, with possibilities for offline maps combined with online up to date information. The solution can be used on workstations on board the vessels or oil rigs as well as being a strategic management tool on shore. The results are delivered to operation centres and directly to persons responsible via SMS, e-mail and mobile app push notifications. The OWL™ MAP allows to set alerts on different user levels and easy reporting. The data is securely stored in a cloud database.
We are able to match real-time findings of oil with existing samples, thus able to provide accurate classification of oil type in real-time. This saves need for travel, man-hours and costly transportation to lab of traditional water sampling.

  • Robust case for harsh environmental conditions
  • Waterproof case with isolated LAN and electrical connections
  • Easy fastening system for open deck installation
  • Unattended, self-controlled operation 24/7
  • Remote set-up of operational parameters
  • Eye-safe operation
  • Requires minimal on-site maintenance
  • Sensing distance: up to 50 m
  • Sampling rate: 10 HLIF spectra per second
  • Laser wavelength – UV (308 nm)
  • Detection: 500 channels, UV & VIS
  • Power consumption: 250 VA
  • Dimensions (65 cm x 45 cm x 37 cm)
  • Weight: 43 kg

AIR OWL™ and ELF OWL™ Airborne Sensor Systems

Ocean Visuals offer a range of sensors for use on multi-rotor or fixed-wing UAV (drones) and airplanes to meet the needs of governments and operators in the environmental monitoring and oil recovery preparedness arena.

Our systems are designed for stand-alone use or as part of a multi-sensor platform, reducing response time and eliminating time spent on taking water samples in critical operations.

AIR OWL™ and ELF OWL™ sensors provide our customers with real-time detection, verification and classification of type of oil in the water on the fly.

  • Oil platform management
  • Pipeline inspection
  • Oil spill clean-up
  • Response operations
  • Satellite observation verification and classification
  • Public environmental monitoring
  • Port / Harbor monitoring
  • Real-time verification and classification of potential oil-in-water observations detected by satellite systems at sea.
  • Reduced reporting of false alarms created by radar sensor systems in the oil industry by verifying the substance in the water on a molecular level, even in harsh environmental conditions (strong wind, low temperatures, fog).
  • Early warning – real-time environmental monitoring for detection of the smallest concentrations of pollution and respond before it becomes a significant problem.
  • On-site oil type classification – verification of the hydrocarbon substance in the water based on LiDAR spectral analysis capabilities.
  • Sensor fusion provides more information, such as – thickest part of the spill, submerged oil, dissolved fractions and emulsions.
  • Enable decision makers to apply the most efficient response method, quicker.
  • Covers large areas in short time.
  • More cost-efficient than traditional gathering of samples for verification and classification at sea.


DEEP OWL™ Subsea Sensor System

DEEP OWL™ sensors have subsea operational capabilities in order to be able to gather real-time subsea data of submerged hydrocarbon levels. Subsea pipeline leak / seepage detection, monitoring of wellheads and Christmas trees.
  • The DEEP OWL™ sensor system is a tool dedicated early warning, seepage detection, leak detection and after-cleanup control in the environmental monitoring and oil recovery preparedness arena.
Early warning of heightened levels of hydrocarbon molecules in the sea surrounding operations. Flexible monitoring when needed, providing increased knowledge and real-time status in ongoing operations.