Long-term Satellite Study over the London Basin

We have recently explored the use of large-scale, multi-temporal and multi-sensor imagery over the London basin, an area about 250 km-long, starting from 1992 up to date.

This project was established as scope of an internship between the Imperial College London and TRE ALTAMIRA.

By combining over 500 radar images from different satellites (i.e. ERS, Envisat, RADARSAT, TerraSAR-X) through the industry standard algorithm SqueeSAR™, we were able to investigate a number of different phenomena both natural (e.g. terrain subsidence and seismic faults) and anthropogenic (e.g. ground settlement due to tunnelling works). In particular, satellite data show with unprecedented accuracy and spatial density ground deformation induced by the Crossrail metro line construction between early 2012 and May 2015.


London: SqueeSAR™ coupled with 150 TerraSAR-X images was the ideal tool to follow the effects of tunnelling operations on ground settlement along the Crossrail alignment during its construction. The animation shows ground deformation occurring between May 2011 and April 2017. The increasing extent of the red areas (representing subsidence) along the Crossrail alignment shows the progress of the work.

The combination of multi-temporal and multi-sensor data can have a crucial impact on our ability to retrieve different types of information over the same area of interest.

What will be the role of satellite radar data in a “smart city” scenario?
Alessandro Ferretti, CEO of TRE ALTAMIRA, is convinced that radar data will enable the design of a brand new family of early warning systems based on a synergic use of satellite and in situ observations. The recipe will include advanced InSAR algorithms and a regular update of the displacement information.

The “London project” will culminate in two presentations at the Imperial College in September.

RSPSoc2017 Annual Conference
5th – 8th September 2017
The event organized by the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Royal Society will take place at the Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London.
More information on the event is available here.

New Technologies Workshop
27th September 
2017, h: 10:00 – 16:00
Room 201 Skempton Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London

This workshop features introductions to adavanced remote sensing technologies from leading developers in industry and academia, showcases the experience of users, and opportunities for discussion and advice.
For more information, download the worshop flyer here