The Blue Discovery System is an innovative and powerful technology platform that allows for the deployment of an efficient and low-cost Access Control and Visitor Information System to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The same concepts and main functions apply also to Tourist Ports.

The system Feasibility Study has been successfully completed (November 30th 2017): all the Italian MPAs have been involved to assess their interest and willing to collaborate to the system definition and experimentation. Also, feedbacks from some tourist ports, foreign MPAs and from other Italian Orgs responsible for Environment and Navigation Safety were collected and considered.

Restrictions internal to Marine Protected Areas are often quite complex and not easy to interpret by the visitor. MPAs are divided in Zones with different access rules and allowing for specific activities only (free of charge or on payment). Surveillance tasks are in general difficult to exercise and, above all, expensive, mainly because MPAs are often very wide and remote and surveillance resources (personnel, dedicated boats and equipment) are limited. Most importantly, efforts and resources required for surveillance are almost always subtracted to the capability of the Park to improve services to the visitors and to the environment itself. A critical aspect for marine Parks is the capability to manage efficiently and effectively all the required information to tourists and visitors.

Blue Discovery contains and possibly overcome all of these issues; it introduces in fact a new and more efficient control model, by means of a real-time management and automatic support to all visitors during their visit, guiding them to ‘discover’ the hidden jewels of the marine area in an easy and immediate way and allowing for an overall optimization of the MPA resources. Purpose of the system is environmental conservation achieved through a cooperative and conscious use of the Nature Reserve by the visitor. Moreover, the system provides the capability to efficiently offer a rich set of added value services to tourists, visitors and to the local community.

Fifteen Italian marine protected areas actively supported the study and validated the system functions and services. A preliminary system prototype has been developed and initially tested at the Punta Campanella MPA (Sorrento Peninsula, Naples, Italy) during summer 2017.

The ESA ARTES Demonstration Project is now under preparation.

Link to the Blue Discovery feasibility project on the ESA ARTES website