Aerial visual data-driven approach for berthing capacity estimation in restricted waters

Lu Li, Yuxu Lu, Dong Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Coastal ship berth planning and management necessitate accurate identification of ship position and size, yet this is complicated by the presence of diverse ship types and mixed distribution patterns. Traditional survey-based and position-tracking ship monitoring methods have limitations in reflecting the precise spatial information of coastal ships and their surroundings. This paper introduces a novel aerial visual data-driven methodology to estimate the berthing capacity of sheltered space for stationary ships in geographically dispersed water areas. To measure the berthing capacity, image data from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) survey is collected to reflect the spatial information of all types of ships. A deep learning-based computer vision algorithm is used to automatically detect, identify, and classify ships in sample images. Additionally, we introduce the occupancy factor to empirically quantify the spatial proportional correlation between the ship size and the requisite berthing capacity. A validation test of the proposed method is conducted across all sheltered spaces in Hong Kong, and the UAV survey yields over 7,000 informative images of all types of local ships. The ship identification algorithm achieves an average identification rate of 98.6%, demonstrating higher accuracy and reduced labor and time consumption than observational survey and manual counting methods. Findings indicate that the suggested sheltered space for individual ships is 7.75 times the ship size. The approach provides greater flexibility in estimating berthing capacity for mixed berthing forms in extensive or geographically dispersed water bodies, thereby having the potential to support the design of berths, anchorage areas, and typhoon shelter facilities in coastal regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106961
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Aerial survey
  • Berthing capacity
  • Computer vision
  • Occupancy factor
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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