InSAR data for a remote mining site with a unex mining machine on site

Using InSAR to Monitor Assets in Remote Locations



Using InSAR to Monitor Assets in Remote Locations

Monitoring infrastructures in remote locations is risky. With so many elements, potential problems can occur at any moment without warning. The development, maintenance, and monitoring of assets place high pressure on asset managers to ensure that safety standards are met.


Unforeseen risks, such as ground movement can cause significant geotechnical and structural damage to infrastructure, creating huge financial burdens. The slightest ground movement can cause catastrophic events. SatSense uses InSAR data to help monitor infrastructures remotely, even those that are set in challenging locations!


Monitoring Ground Movement

Ground movement can be hard to recognise with just visual inspections. Geotechnical engineers can aid asset managers in the research and monitoring of projects, to assess risks and consequences before any construction is started. However, monitoring data after construction is costly, and historical data is difficult to collect.


Infrastructures aren’t getting younger, and population growth and climate change are adding extra strains onto assets, which brings along risks of potential failures. Some infrastructure monitoring can be carried out annually, whereas others are monitored on an as-needed basis, meaning long periods of time can pass with defects not being detected.

Visual and Traditional Monitoring


Understanding the health of remotely located infrastructures, by either visual inspections or traditional monitoring, is carried out through site visits. Obtaining ground movement data from these remote locations can be expensive and creates challenges, such as:

- Time-consuming for personnel

- High costs of personnel and machinery travelling to remote locations

- Extensive risk assessments and safety issues

Remote locations may have hostile terrain and adverse weather conditions, making the physical collection of data dangerous and a risk to life. Vehicle and personnel access may be limited or prohibited. Safety precautions for remote locations may state that several personnel must attend the inspection, with permits and safety documents, placing greater costs and time constraints on companies, every time a visit is made. Assets could be prone to risks that are not detectable to the eye, and personnel not understanding behaviours that could lead to being hazardous or facing large fines.


InSAR Monitoring


Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) is increasingly being used by asset managers, as a remote ground sensing technique to accurately measure and assess ground displacements on the Earth’s surface. InSAR records millimetre-scale shifts of the Earth’s surface with satellite-borne radar data, providing an insight into how the ground or infrastructures are behaving with subsidence, heave, or lateral movements measured on a weekly basis. InSAR can provide historical and present data, for the duration and future monitoring of a project.


InSAR is a highly effective and accurate way to monitor changes in the ground surface, by obtaining radar signals from a specific area. The technique can monitor in any type of weather condition and at any time of day, ensuring maximum safety standards are met, meaning no trips to remote or challenging locations are required, and the manual monitoring risks are instantly eliminated, bearing no risk for personnel.


How can SatSense Help?


SatSense allows asset managers to inspect their challenging infrastructures remotely, by instantaneously visualising areas of concern, providing reliable and resilient InSAR data that is up to date. InSAR allows accurate monitoring of structural integrity by highlighting different ground movements and how they are affecting assets. The data provides quick and easy data of how infrastructures are behaving. The measurements are obtained every week, with accuracies on the order of 1-2 millimetres per year or less.


SatSense’s SatShop means access to InSAR data is readily available for asset managers to use and inform their decisions before catastrophic damage and costs are incurred. Costs and time constraints are ultimately reduced, by data being remotely available, so that other areas can be focussed on.


SatSense can aid asset managers by providing data for effective maintenance and eliminate safety burdens through our SatShop portal. If you are interested in finding out more about how SatSense’s InSAR data can protect your assets, get in touch to speak to our specialists or read our full user guide here.