Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Innovation Technologies and Applications for Coastal Archaeological sites

Funding Programme:

Research Programme


Completion Year:

Contact Person(s):


Implementation Period:
Specific Funding Programme:




About the Project:

The ITACA (Innovation Technologies and Applications for Coastal Archaeological sites) project aimed to prove a management system for underwater archaeological sites in coastal regions. The discovering and monitoring service used innovative satellite remote sensing techniques combined with image processing algorithms. The project has developed a set of applications integrated in a system that pursue the following objectives:

  • Search and location of ancient ship wrecks;
  • Monitoring of shipwrecks, ruins and historical artefacts that are now submerged.
  • Integration of resulting search and monitoring data with onsite data into a management tool for underwater sites
  • Demonstration of the system’s suitability for a service

High-resolution synthetic aperture radar (TerraSAR-X, Cosmo-SkyMed) and multispectral satellite data (WorldView) has been combined to derive the relative bathymetry of the bottom of the sea up to the depth of 70 meters. The resulting data fusion has been processed using shape detection algorithms specific for archaeological items.

The availability of the above remote sensing data, combined with innovative processing techniques and optimized for archaeological site, enable the provision of a location and monitoring service for underwater archaeological sites in coastal zones.

The new algorithms, the physical modelling and the computational capabilities has been integrated into the Web-GIS, together with data recorded from surface (2D and 3D modelling) and from underwater surveys. Additional specific archaeological layers have been included into the WebGIS to facilitate the object identification through shape detection techniques and mapping.

The system has been verified and validated through an extensive on-ground (sea) campaign carried out with both cutting edge technologies (side-scan sonar, multi beam echo sounder) and traditional means (submarine exploration with professional scuba divers).

The project may support MSP as the detection of UCH sites could be useful during preliminary stages of  spatial planning. MSP can in fact represent a unique opportunity for better protection and wiser management of UCH. The technology developed in the context of this project could facilitate registration and evaluation of archaeological sites, the selection of the zones to be protected, and the implementation of planning.

Project partners

  • Planetek hellas etaireia periorismenis efthynis ypiresies chartografisis meso doryforou
  • Nextant Applications & Innovative Solution SRL
  • Institoyto Enalion Archaiologikon Ereynon Somateo
  • INESC ID - Instituto De Engenhariade Sistemas E Computadores, Investigacao E Desenvolvimento Em Lisboa
  • Anesti Limited
  • Regione Sicilia
  • Alma Sistemi SRL
  • Codevintec Italiana Compagnia per lo Sviluppo Industriale e Tecnico
  • Fundacao da faculdade de ciencias da universidade de lisboa fp