Landslide maps of Swiss Alps to help in hazard management

Landslide maps of Swiss Alps to help in hazard management

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Switzerland: The Swiss corporation, Gamma Remote Sensing, uses Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar or DInSAR to detect ground deformations. The corporation uses DInSAR on Swiss landslides with data from ESA’s ERS missions to detect and monitor alpine land displacement.

Using the radar data, Gamma Remote Sensing provides deformation maps that are used by Swiss cantons to generate regional hazard maps.

This process is overseen by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, which is responsible for minimising natural hazards, protecting the environment and reducing risks to human health.

The Envisat mission ended in April after doubling its lifetime, but its radar data are still being used for generating regional hazard maps.

Gamma Remote Sensing will continue to use archived Envisat data for their landslide inventory work, and the commercial alternatives TerraSAR-X, Cosmo-Skymed and Radarsat-2 are now providing complementary data for monitoring.

From 2014, data from the Sentinel-1 mission will be used to build upon the existing archive and provide monitoring.

“The use of Envisat data for landslide monitoring had a difficult start,” said Urs Wegmüller, CEO of Gamma Remote Sensing.

“In the early days of the mission, SAR data were acquired in many different modes so that no consistent archives were built. When the satellite was systematically programmed to gather dedicated data over the Swiss Alps in the summer, this significantly improved the situation so that we have now very good archives available,” he said.

Source: ESA