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Researchers develop radar-based new surveying tech

UK: A team of researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK developed a new surveying technique called the Intermittent Small Baseline Subset (ISBAS) method. The new development builds on existing technology that allows engineers to use satellite radar technology to measure points on the landscape over a length of time to assess whether they are moving up (uplifting) or sinking down (subsiding).

The research has been led by Dr Andrew Sowter in the University’s Department of Civil Engineering. He said, “This method allows us to measure patterns of slow millimeter-scale movement across large regions of the landscape and, in the UK, almost everywhere we look is dominated by our industrial past. Large tracts of our land, including parts of our cities, towns and infrastructure as well as agricultural and woodland areas, are steadily creeping upwards over mines that were closed decades ago.”

The technique is now being used by the British Geological Survey (BGS), based in Keyworth in Nottinghamshire, which is the world’s oldest national geological survey providing expert services and impartial advice on all areas of geosciences for both the public and private sectors.

Principal geologist at the BGS Poul Strange said, “This new technique is going to allow us to refine our geological maps. Previously when surveying rural areas we were almost guessing and the final result was more of an interpretation. Now we are able to produce maps that far more accurately reflect what is happening with the geology below the surface and enable us to predict any potential risks posed by ground movement.”

“Rural areas are particularly important because we need to know what is happening with the geology there and how movement or natural fault lines may affect future developments such as new housing or high speed rail links.”

Source: University of Nottingham