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Geosciences 2017, 7(3), 51; doi:10.3390/geosciences7030051

Mapping Ground Instability in Areas of Geotechnical Infrastructure Using Satellite InSAR and Small UAV Surveying: A Case Study in Northern Ireland

1
British Geological Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Nicker Hill, Keyworth NG12 5GG, UK
2
Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SB, UK
3
Civil Engineering, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, Stranmillis Road, Belfast BT9 5AG, UK
4
Centre for GIS and Geomatics, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, Elmwood Ave., Belfast BT7 1NN, UK
These authors are listed in alphabetical order.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 April 2017 / Revised: 22 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 6 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Observing Geohazards from Space)

Abstract

Satellite Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), geological data and Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (SUAV) surveying was used to enhance our understanding of ground movement at five areas of interest in Northern Ireland. In total 68 ERS-1/2 images 1992–2000 were processed with the Small Baseline Subset (SBAS) InSAR technique to derive the baseline ground instability scenario of key areas of interest for five stakeholders: TransportNI, Northern Ireland Railways, Department for the Economy, Arup, and Belfast City Council. These stakeholders require monitoring of ground deformation across either their geotechnical infrastructure (i.e., embankments, cuttings, engineered fills and earth retaining structures) or assessment of subsidence risk as a result of abandoned mine workings, using the most efficient, cost-effective methods, with a view to minimising and managing risk to their businesses. The InSAR results provided an overview of the extent and magnitude of ground deformation for a 3000 km2 region, including the key sites of the disused salt mines in Carrickfergus, the Belfast–Bangor railway line, Throne Bend and Ligoniel Park in Belfast, Straidkilly and Garron Point along the Antrim Coast Road, plus other urbanised areas in and around Belfast. Tailored SUAV campaigns with a X8 airframe and generation of very high resolution ortho-photographs and a 3D surface model via the Structure from Motion (SfM) approach at Maiden Mount salt mine collapse in Carrickfergus in 2016 and 2017 also demonstrate the benefits of very high resolution surveying technologies to detect localised deformation and indicators of ground instability. View Full-Text
Keywords: Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR); Interferometric SAR (InSAR); Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (SUAV); Structure from Motion (SfM); ground deformation; slope stability; land subsidence; transport infrastructure; abandoned mines Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR); Interferometric SAR (InSAR); Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (SUAV); Structure from Motion (SfM); ground deformation; slope stability; land subsidence; transport infrastructure; abandoned mines
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cigna, F.; Banks, V.J.; Donald, A.W.; Donohue, S.; Graham, C.; Hughes, D.; McKinley, J.M.; Parker, K. Mapping Ground Instability in Areas of Geotechnical Infrastructure Using Satellite InSAR and Small UAV Surveying: A Case Study in Northern Ireland. Geosciences 2017, 7, 51.

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