Advances on the investigation of landslides by space-borne synthetic aperture radar interferometry


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Landslides are destructive geohazards to people and infrastructure, resulting in hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars of damage every year. Therefore, mapping the rate of deformation of such geohazards and understanding their mechanics is of paramount importance to mitigate the resulting impacts and properly manage the associated risks. In this paper, the main outcomes relevant to the joint European Space Agency (ESA) and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Dragon-5 initiative cooperation project ID 59,339 "Earth observation for seismic hazard assessment and landslide early warning system" are reported. The primary goals of the project are to further develop advanced SAR/InSAR and optical techniques to investigate seismic hazards and risks, detect potential landslides in wide regions, and demonstrate EO-based landslide early warning system over selected landslides. This work only focuses on the landslide hazard content of the project, and thus, in order to achieve these objectives, the following tasks were developed up to now: a) a procedure for phase unwrapping errors and tropospheric delay correction; b) an improvement of a cross-platform SAR offset tracking method for the retrieval of long-term ground displacements; c) the application of polarimetric SAR interferometry (PolInSAR) to increase the number and quality of monitoring points in landslide-prone areas; d) the semiautomatic mapping and preliminary classification of active displacement areas on wide regions; e) the modeling and identification of landslides in order to identify triggering factors or predict future displacements; and f) the application of an InSAR-based landslide early warning system on a selected site. The achieved results, which mainly focus on specific sensitive regions, provide essential assets for planning present and future scientific activities devoted to identifying, mapping, characterizing, monitoring and predicting landslides, as well as for the implementation of early warning systems.
InSAR,SAR offset tracking,PolInSAR,landslide,mapping,modeling,early warning,monitoring
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