Surface displacement monitoring: using satellite InSAR for mining and infrastructure planning


Engineering Surveying; LIDAR

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Davide Colombo, TRE, Italy,
Iandu Toit, Optron (Pty) LtD, South Africa,


InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) uses satellite radar imagery to precisely measure ground deformation. TRE developed advanced techniques, PSInSAR™ and subsequently SqueeSAR™, as a standard monitoring tools in a number of applications: natural hazards, geothermal, oil and gas, mining, urban and infrastructures monitoring.

Thanks to its capability in detecting millimeter level displacements over long periods and large areas, SqueeSAR™ analysis can be considered complementary to conventional geological and geomorphological studies in displacement detection and monitoring, supporting also the effectiveness of landslide and subsidence inventories at regional scale. In this presentation, we would like to present some results obtained in several sectors; as a matter of fact these data has been widely used by civil protection and planning authorities, but also by Oil and Gas and mining companies. In order to give consistency to these statements, after a brief introduction on the capabilities of the technology, a set of examples will be presented taking into account lots of different displacement phenomena. Some examples over mining areas are presented.

In the case of open pit, the greater attention would be put on the immediate surroundings of the pit and on the nearby facilities (tailing ponds and waste piles); on the other hand, surface effects of underground mining – mainly in terms of subsidence – are being measured with millimeter accuracy. Radar imagery can detect ground displacements that could threaten the integrity and safety of road and rail infrastructure (both at grade and elevated). By identifying natural and man-made ground measurement points, and using only remote sensed data, SqueeSAR™ maps millimeter displacements along the entire length of road and rail networks, aiding risk assessments and highlighting areas that may require maintenance.

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