Land motion over UK mapped with unprecedented accuracy

Land motion over UK mapped with unprecedented accuracy

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Satellite imagery: Sentinel-1 A/B, Jan/2016 – Dec/2017.

TRE ALTAMIRA has processed more than 7,000 satellite radar images acquired over the UK since 2015 to generate a nation-wide database of displacement measurements with unprecedented accuracy.

The company’s pioneering experience of national-scale processing dates back 10 years when it was involved in the processing of the entire European Space Agency (ESA) radar satellite data archive acquired over Italy. Since then, TRE ALTAMIRA has processed more than 30,000 radar images covering over 1,000,000 km2.

Radar satellites acquire images of the Earth’s surface by emitting radar signals and measuring the reflected echo. Their electromagnetic waves can penetrate clouds, which makes this technology an all-weather system operating day and night. By processing multiple satellite images taken of the same area over time, the evolution of surface deformation can be extracted and measured with millimetric precision.

Various industrial and environmental organisations have used this technology (i.e. InSAR) since the 1990s to detect and measure ground motions related to mining, or oil and water extraction from underground reservoirs, to assess the stability of road and rail networks, or flood defences, and even for forensic analysis in engineering.

Now, TRE ALTAMIRA has combined new satellites (Sentinel-1 A/B operated by ESA) with the latest computing power and processing algorithms, to produce a UK-wide map of ground stability. This national-scale product offers a view of the entire country while highlighting areas and assets that might warrant further inspection and surveillance.

The company’s UK InSAR database covers the last two years of 2016 and 2017, and will continue to be updated regularly to provide the very latest information.

Different satellite acquisition geometries have been combined to deliver separate, easy-to-use vertical and horizontal (east-west) measurement layers, allowing straightforward interpretation and integration with other data.

The production efficiencies deployed in making the product means plummeting prices, and today the company is proud to offer pre-processed InSAR data over the whole UK territory, at a fraction of the cost of usual InSAR analyses. Such data are now available from as little as 2,000 € for a specific area of interest.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Renalt Capes

ren.capes@tre-altamira.com