A new study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University suggests that high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite data can be used to detect ground infrastructure damage from space.

According to the researchers, infrastructure monitoring using SAR remote sensing systems can be used to detect infrastructure damage early on via frequent checks by satellite, thereby promising to keep roads and other infrastructure safe for use.

Source: Texas A&M UniversitySource: Texas A&M University

Making SAR useful for such checks is that the data it collects is not affected by time of day or weather conditions. Instead, it can observe the ground at any time and offer a comprehensive view, the researchers added.

“When there is damage due to a natural disaster, authorities use the satellite systems to determine what caused it. Recently we started utilizing this method to look at transportation infrastructure, including highway embankments, roads, and even airport runways,” the researchers explained.

The team noted that the SAR satellite systems can enable users to inspect that transportation infrastructure — pavements, roads, embankments, and more — from space, thereby saving time, associated costs and helping to determine if any flaws exist that require additional inspection, ahead of sending a team to the site.

An article detailing the team’s findings, “Application of Satellite-Based Remote Sensing for the Management of Pavement Infrastructure Assets,” appears in the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com