REMOTE GROUND SUBSIDENCE MONITORING
INSIDE THE FLOODPLAIN | OUTSIDE THE FLOODPLAIN

What Is It?

Cost: $5,000-100,000 USD (Skygeo)
Applications: Water/utility management, natural disaster recovery.
Service Life: 20 years (Skygeo)

Ground subsidence can occur when water is withdrawn from the land, creating instability in the rock structure below.  As a result, the ground can shift and cause sinkholes, uneven ground and changes in land surface altitude. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) satellites offer the opportunity to get a millimeter-accurate measurement of the subsidence of cities and the buildings and infrastructure within it. As satellite images cover an area of 30×50 km up to 200×800 km, city-wide measurements can be completed cost effectively, allowing cities to use a data-driven, fact-based approach to subsidence and its effects on water management and utility performance. InSAR can also be used to complete damage assessments of sewer and utility networks, which are directly influenced by subsidence. A spin-off application of the data lies in use for civil engineering projects (e.g. building pits and underground construction) in the city, which can make use of the same measurement data.

Benefits

  • InSAR technology can provide very specific measurements that allow for more accurate assessment of land shifts due to water withdrawals and natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides.

Drawbacks

  • Limitations of detection include water, areas under trees, and dense, grassy surfaces.

Regulatory Impacts and Requirements

InSAR is a monitoring system, as opposed to an in-building investment. This means it is not subject to the same type of regulatory requirements showcased in other sections, but permission would need to be obtained from a local authority for a large-scale project.

Additional Resources

Project Examples

SAMPLE OF SUPPLIERS

  • Skygeo (the Netherlands)
  • Environmental monitoring technology companies
  • U.S. Geological Survey

SOURCES