Integration of Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for monitoring mining induced surface deformations
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Surface subsidence induced by mining is a source of risk to people, equipment and environment. It may also disrupt mining schedules and increase the cost of mine safety. To provide accurate assessment of the surface subsidence and its level of impact on mine production and environment, it is necessary to develop and introduce comprehensive subsidence monitoring systems. Current techniques for monitoring of surface deformation are usually based on classical survey principles. In general these techniques have disadvantages that limit their applicability: they follow point-by-point data collection techniques, they are relatively time-consuming and costly, they usually cover only a small area, they are not applicable for the monitoring of inaccessible areas and they are not able to collect data continuously.As a complementary or alternative technique, the thesis discusses the applicability of SAR interferometry for monitoring mining induced deformations. InSAR is a remote sensing technique that makes use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observations to acquire change in terrain topography. In spite of the widespread application of the technique for monitoring large-scale deformations of the Earth crust, specific modifications are necessary for utilising the technology within a mining context. Limitations, such as difficulty to resolve deformation for a high gradient slope, difficulty to retrieve subsidence for localised highly dynamic ground movements and the unavailability of SAR images with the desired specifications restrict the potential to monitor high rate, localised mine subsidence on day-to-day basis.The secondary aim of the thesis is to present integration of InSAR and GIS in order to propose an optimum methodology for processing of InSAR data to determine mine subsidence. The presented research also involves detailed analysis of InSAR limitations. This in consequence has led to suggestions on how to improve current InSAR capability with respect to the mining needs.The thesis introduces a set of new GIS-based tools and methodologies that are integrated into a conventional InSAR processing technique, to further improve and facilitate application of InSAR in mining. The developed tools and techniques cover the three main stages of data processing (pre-processing, processing and postprocessing). The researcher tried to address InSAR.’s limitations associated with mining related applications and also to provide practical solutions to resolve these issues.
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