Satellite radar data used to create land deformation maps

Satellite radar data used to create land deformation maps

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Greece: A new data processor is creating maps of land deformation from satellite radar data over larger areas and with higher precision than ever before. These maps can be used to detect and monitor geological hazards. Wide Area Processor (WAP) can process the full radar data over a specific area automatically and then mosaic adjacent ‘datastacks’ with uniform quality, yielding country-sized maps of land deformation with unprecedented accuracy.

In one of its first trials, the WAP identified over a million persistent scatterers over half of Greece’s mainland. In rural areas, there was an average of 10 scatterers per sq km, while urban areas, like Athens, saw up to 200 scatterers per sq km.

Using about 360 gigabytes of raw radar data from the ERS-1 and -2 satellites, the WAP mapped terrain deformation over more than ten years, finding that some areas are sinking by about 10 mm per year.

Source: ESA