Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Prepared for the 63ndHighway Geology Symposium, September, 2013


Copyright 2013 Highway Geology Symposium (HGS)


As part of the USDOT-funded research program RITA-RS-11-H-UVA, “Sinkhole Detection and Bridge/Landslide Monitoring for Transportation Infrastructure by Automated Analysis of Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar [InSAR] Images,” the authors broadly validated the use of InSAR data as a tool for early detection of geological hazards and failing infrastructure, including sinkhole development, potentially dangerous rock slopes, distressed bridges, rock buttresses, and other geotechnical assets. By bringing the InSAR dataset into a GIS dataframe and correlating the data to published maps of sinkhole locations and karst terranes, the authors were able to correlate average displacement velocities of InSAR data points (scatterers) with respect to their proximity to mapped sinkholes. Additionally, the authors correlated the InSAR signal characteristics with kinematic analysis of rock slopes using point-cloud data generated using digital photogrammetry and LiDAR. Lastly, the displacement time-series of the InSAR scatterers were used to screen for compromised geotechnical assets and infrastructure, and the findings were strongly confirmed by field inspection of distressed bridges and a failing rock buttress. The validation of InSAR data for these purposes thus allows generation of GIS-based geohazard and at-risk infrastructure/asset maps and provides the opportunity to augment or eventually replace a periodic inspection-based infrastructure management system with continuous performance-based system.