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New HD Satellite Radar Detects Bridges, Buildings at Risk of Collapse

A group of experts led by NASA’s JPL and engineers from Bath confirmed the strategy by reviewing 15 years of satellite representation of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, a portion of which collapsed in August 2018 killing 43 individuals. The evaluation, printed in the journal Remote Sensing, uncovered that the bridge did show indicators of warping in the months before the disaster.

Dr. Giorgia Giardina, Lecturer in the University’s Division of Architecture and Civil Engineering, stated: “The situation of the bridge has been reported on before; however, utilizing the satellite data we will see for the first time the deformation that led the collapse. We have proved that it’s possible to make use of this tool, particularly the mix of data from satellites, with a mathematical model, to detect the early indicators of collapse or deformation.”

While current structural monitoring strategies can spot indicators of movement in a building or bridge, they focus only on specific points where sensors are located. The brand new methodology can be used for near-real-time monitoring of a complete construction.

This is made possible via the progress in satellite expertise, specifically on the joint use of the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) COSMO-SkyMed constellation and the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Sentinel-1a and 1b satellites, which allows more accurate information to be collected. Exact Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) information, when amassed from many satellites pointed at various angles, can be utilized to construct a 3D image of a building, bridge, or metropolis street.

Dr. Giardina said, “Earlier the satellites we tried to employ for this research could create radar imagery accurate to within a few centimeters. Now we can use data that are accurate to within a millimeter—and possibly even better if the situations are right. The difference is like switching to an Ultra-HD TV—we have the extent of detail required to observe structures effectively.”

The method may also be used to monitor the motion of structures when underground excavations like tunnel boring, are performed.

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Jeanne Lussier

Jeanne is a contributing author and editor for the sensors and controls column. Being an electrical engineer her knowledge in this area is vast, and that benefits her a lot. And her writing is without any doubt very interesting and full of information. She writes about the progression of the sensor and controls sectors which is evolving to a mass industry currently.

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