Monitoring ground instabilities using SAR satellite data: a practical approach.
Satellite interferometric data are widely exploited for ground motion monitoring thanks to their wide area coverage, cost efficiency and non-invasiveness. The launch of the Sentinel-1 constellation opened new horizons for interferometric applications, allowing the scientists to rethink the way in which these data are delivered, passing from a static view of the territory to a continuous streaming of ground motion measurements from space. Tuscany Region is the first worldwide example of a regional scale monitoring system based on satellite interferometric data. The processing chain here exploited combines a multi-interferometric approach with a time-series data mining algorithm aimed at recognizing benchmarks with significant trend variations. The system is capable of detecting the temporal changes of a wide variety of phenomena such as slow-moving landslides and subsidence, producing a high amount of data to be interpreted in a short time. Bulletins and reports are derived to the hydrogeological risk management actors at regional scale. The final output of the project is a list of potentially hazardous and accelerating phenomena that are verified on site by field campaign by completing a sheet survey in order to qualitatively estimate the risk and to suggest short-term actions to be taken by local entities. Two case studies, one related to landslides and one to subsidence, are proposed to highlight the potential of the monitoring system to early detect anomalous ground changes. Both examples represent a successful implementation of satellite interferometric data as monitoring and risk management tools, raising the awareness of local and regional authorities to geohazards.