Ground settlement monitoring for tunneling projects
with satellite InSAR data

Expanding urban development and densification has increased the number and size of tunneling projects.

Excavation works, and the associated civil engineering activities such as dewatering, can cause subsidence in an area extending well beyond the actual tunnel. The resulting ground displacement is a major risk to the existing infrastructure.

InSAR data provides critical information for understanding ground instability as well as monitoring the impact of tunneling and groundwork activities on buildings and infrastructure.
Satellite data provides valuable ground displacement behavior information from prior to, as well as during, tunneling operations. This information can be used to assess the postoperative relationship between groundwork possible related subsidence that may impact infrastructures.

Assess Ground Stability

With satellite image archives dating back to 1992, historical InSAR analyses can assess past ground stability patterns, and complement existing geotechnical information, to identify unstable areas. Determining areas of ground instabilities help make informed decisions during the design-phase of projects and mitigate potential risks.

Monitor Surface Behavior and
Ground Settlement

InSAR monitoring provides reliable data to understand the relationship between tunneling construction activities and ground settlement, throughout all phases of the project. InSAR can be used in conjunction with in-situ measurement data to confirm results and provide a greater understanding of the extent of surface motion resulting from this activity.

Historical InSAR analysis along the alignment #Grand Paris express
Grand Paris Express: InSAR analysis showing displacement measurement information prior to the start of the construction work.
© DLR e.V. 2015-2020 and © Airbus Defense and Space GmbH
TRE ALTAMIRA levelling SqueeSAR
Comparison of measurement points coverage during a tunnel constructions between conventional levelling and InSAR.
Includes material © DLR e.V. 2011-2017 and © Airbus Defence and Space 2017 all rights reserved

Spatially dense and precise results

Millimetric precision measurementsInSAR provides high density displacement measurement point data with millimetric precision. InSAR also complements real-time, in-situ surveying, such as leveling and inclinometers, to validate and expand results.

Non-invasive and scalable technique

non invasive scalabilitySatellite InSAR is completely remote. It is unrivaled in its ability to obtain displacement measurements over large or small areas.


cost effectiveInSAR is the only ground monitoring technique, providing highly dense displacement measurement data, that is very cost-effective when compared to alternative survey techniques.

Historical data

historical dataSatellite data archives extend back to 1992 and can be processed to provide historical movement trends.

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