ESA title

Integration of InSAR ground motion products with subsurface geotechnical models

Data Segment
  • Data Analytics, Insights & Applications
  • Product Development
The activity develops new methods for obtaining information about vertical ground motion and integrates derived ground motion information with geological and geotechnical information for risk assessment modelling.
Objectives of the Product

Information on ground motion is important for coastal protection and management of underground infrastructure such as water and wastewater pipelines. Until recently, ground motion surveying was a time-consuming process involving acquisition of manual measurements over several years. With the availability of Sentinel-1 radar imagery in 2014, this information can be derived from satellites.

The overall objectives of InSARinSub are to:

  1. Develop new methods for calibration of satellite-based calculations of ground motion based on historic levelling data.
  2. Combine this information with state-of-the-art third voxel-based geological and geotechnical models.
  3. Develop specialised tools for presentation and integration of this information dedicated to end-users in the climate adaptation, utility and construction sectors.

InSARinSub visualises digital geological and geotechnical data in 3D-models. It couples these models to derive vertical ground deformation monitoring and mapping by using image stacks from Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar satellites.

InSARinSub exhibits results and models as web-services or through an API-based data environment. This allows end-users to integrate the products with other data from other sources such as charts of subsurface infrastructure like water and wastewater pipes, climate change scenarios (e.g. sea level rise, groundwater head, precipitation and runoff), and projections of vertical positions of surface and subsurface assets.

Customers and their Needs

Key end-user segments including local utility companies, municipal and national authorities have participated in this activity to ensure that product functionality and operationalisation provides optimal value. For instance, in the utility sector there is a constant push for implementation of measures and technologies, which can assist in achieving more efficient workflows and meet new capacity demands induced by climate change. Ground deformation affects underground infrastructures in different ways and is of significant interest for utility companies. Instances where ground deformation patterns vary over short distances, water and/or gas pipelines may succumb to the stress and break. Other ground deformation patterns may cause a decrease of the pipelines’ slope leading to malfunctioning of the wastewater systems among other issues.

A detailed subsurface model provides answers to how and why the ground-motion occurs and can be used to estimate ground movement even in areas with poor satellite data coverage. To the utility sector, this directly results in a faster and more robust, agile, and cost-efficient renovation of pipelines.

Targeted customer/users countries
Denmark Flag Denmark
Germany Flag Germany
Netherlands Flag Netherlands
Sweden Flag Sweden

Product description

The products developed include:

  • Novel methods for calibration of ground motion calculated from series of radar imagery from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite. The developed methods rely on a prior knowledge of stable areas such as those where ground motion is only governed by glacial uplift. These areas are derived from historic benchmark data.
  • Ground motion products and tools targeted at specific user segments and applications including:
    • Utility companies to assist their planning and maintenance of subsurface assets such as pipelines and wells.
    • Municipalities developing dynamic simulation of flooding scenarios as part of climate adaptation activities, which are high on their agenda.
    • Building and construction such as monitoring effects of construction activities
  • A new 3D voxel-based version of Geo’s GeoAtlas Live product
  • Novel models for risk assessment based on existing geotechnical information and satellite derived ground motion information.

The MapGM and GeoAtlas Live products are made available as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) through the GeoAtlas Live portal.

Added Value

The InSAR-based calibrated ground motion products and modelled subsurface/risk analyses are exchanged between the MapGM and GeoAtlas Live platforms.

This synergetic use of ground motion information and geological data is novel. It also strengthens the models and derived risk products as well as return added value ground motion products.

Previously, ground motion maps could not be produced with this level of detail due to sparse or even non-existing data.

Historical benchmarking data for the municipality of Aarhus has been processed and stored in the production database.

An object-based data model has been developed. A key focus point was to generate an efficient data import/export structure in order to secure reliability and performance of the systems.

Routines for import of line-of-sight data into the production database and production of selected value-added products and webservices have been developed.

High-level diagram of the MapGM solution.

Geological and geotechnical 3D models have been developed with focus on improving data and modelling methods, model calculations and visualisation in the GeoAtlas Live platform. 

2D profile of subsurface voxel model.
Calculated risk map for the Aarhus area.
Current status

The original contract has been achieved according to schedule and the activity was successfully completed and concluded with the final milestone review meeting on January 18, 2022.

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Prime Contractor Company
Geopartner Landinspektoerer
Denmark Flag Denmark
DTU Space National Space Institute
Denmark Flag Denmark
Contractor Project Manager
Niels Henrik Broge
Geopartner Landinspektoerer. Gladsaxevej 356 DK-2860 Soeborg
ESA Technical Officer
Alice Barthe

Current activities