The Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Waves, wind, water and ice reshape our lands through erosion, and earthquakes – large or small – cause ground displacement around the world. But it’s not just natural forces that can cause change. Human activities, like groundwater consumption, construction and mining operations, are causing cities, towns and our critical infrastructure to sink and rise.
These changes are tiny, on the scale of millimeters or centimeters per year, but sometimes that’s all that’s needed to cause instability in an area. So how can we mitigate catastrophic failures of structures like tailings dams and bridges? Or take preventative action to ensure sinkholes or unexpected movement don’t impact infrastructure or cause loss of life?
It’s all linked back to ground displacement monitoring.
CATALYST and Amazon Web Services for Risk Assessment
CATALYST, a PCI Geomatics brand, is collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide ground displacement monitoring to users through AWS Data Exchange (ADX). These feeds are derived from satellite-based Earth Observation (EO) intelligence, and monitoring is shown as a visual data feed down to the millimeter scale.
Often there are warning signs shown in the ground before catastrophic events happen. For example, possible ground displacement was shown before a 60-meter large sinkhole appeared in rural farmland in Santa Maria Zacatepec, Mexico. Luckily, the family who lived in the farmhouse adjacent to the sinkhole was evacuated so it caused minimal damage. But if this had taken place in a suburban area, the consequences could have been much worse.
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Plug & Play with Whatever Software You Already Use
One of the benefits of this collaboration is that Amazon already has global reach. That means this solution is accessible to everyone through their API.
This interoperability means new users won’t need to overhaul their processes to start using satellite Earth Observation data for ground monitoring. They can simply integrate it into their existing Emergency Management or Risk Management systems.
The data feed can also be paired with the CATALYST Insights webapp which has a simple and intuitive interface. This means anyone, not just those familiar with geospatial data can view ground displacement risk in their areas of interest.
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Providing Accessible Ground Displacement Data for All
Traditionally, ground displacement monitoring is done through sensor-based technology using land surveys. This is expensive to do, and because of that, monitoring may only happen a few times a year – leaving gaps of time where ground displacement is not being observed at all. Moreover, because of the expense only some parts of the area of interest may be surveyed – leaving some areas completely unmonitored.
As well, this solution means companies don’t need to have a geospatial expert on hand, to get the information they need. Our team of InSAR experts and specialists ensure parameters are correctly tuned for all projects. The displacement measurements undergo rigorous quality control before delivery.
Instead, the company is able to get the satellite data insights they need through the CATALYST/ ADX data feed – saving them both time and money. And not needing to have a geospatial expert on hand can have further reaching impacts than just saving time and money – it can also help entire communities.
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Providing Better Outcomes for Future Generations
The possibilities for Earth Observation cloud-based applications are endless.
For June, it all leads back to helping businesses and individuals make better decisions, faster.