Engineers Australia

Radar interferometry and its application potential in Tasmania

Nick Roberts, PhD

InSAR supports diverse engineering and geoscience investigations by measuring sub-centimetre-scale surface displacements over extensive areas. This remote sensing technique’s application potential continually increases through advancements sensor technology and data processing, but successful implementation requires some basic understanding of its strengths, flexibilities, and limitations. Such knowledge gaps likely contribute to InSAR’s underutilization in Tasmania despite its capabilities to improve land-use planning, environmental management, and risk reduction. Readily available Tasmanian datasest – particularly LiDAR elevation models, borehole records, and the geohazards database – provide complementary information to further increase the utility of InSAR-measured deformation.

This presentation provides an overview of space-borne InSAR including basic radar theory, sensor options, processing approaches, principle challenges, and integration with complementary techniques. It features results from a range of sites to illustrate key points for the planning, analysis and interpretation of InSAR datasets. The presentation will end with a discussion of possible InSAR applications in Tasmania to benefit the states’ communities, natural resources and transportation infrastructure, including several projects being planned at MRT.

This meeting is sponsored by the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and the Australian Geomechanics Society.

About the speaker

Nick Roberts, PhDMineral Resources Tasmania, Department of State Growth

Nick recently moved to Tasmania from Vancouver, Canada, where working at Simon Fraser University and the Geological Survey of Canada he investigated geohazards and landscape evolution of the cordilleras of North and South America. Prior to that, he investigated catastrophic landslides in Iran, Tajikistan, and the Philippines. Nick’s research focuses include hillslope processes, landslide-generated waves, risk reduction, ancient glacial records, and applied remote sensing. His PhD research on the distribution, causes, and behaviour of landslides in and around the city of La Paz, Bolivia, demonstrates some of the many uses of radar interferometry (InSAR) in both urban and natural landscapes. As a natural hazards geologist at Mineral Resources Tasmania Nick is developing inventories of modern and ancient landslides in various parts of the state using field mapping, optical imagery, LiDAR and InSAR.

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