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Fri September 24 2021

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Surveyors turn to satellites for ground mapping

28 Sep 18 Surveying specialist Central Alliance is looking to use satellite technology to map soil properties from space.

Central Alliance has entered into a strategic partnership with satellite imaging analysis specialist Utilis Corp to do ground mapping from space.

It is expected that the technology will help to spot areas that could be prone to earthworks or structure failures.

Data analysis can also help understand the potential impacts of third-party effects and their interaction with critical infrastructure and identify ‘at-risk’ locations, where structures or earthworks could be prone to failure, the companies say.

Utilis is an Israeli software company that uses satellites to detect water leaks. Its UK clients include Yorkshire Water and Severn Trent Water.

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Richard Pidcock, joint managing director at Central Alliance, explained: “Advancements in spaceborne technology are set to revolutionise the way we manage our infrastructure and assets.  The ability to map ground properties and third-party impacts ‘remotely’ from space is a result of new to the market processing methods and Utilis’ patented algorithms that allow us to use spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar satellites to detect water on earth.

“This is developed from technology used in research to find water on other planets. There are key benefits with this remote technology that enables us to ‘see through’ vegetation and into the ground, day or night and independent of weather conditions.”

He continued: “The analysis will hopefully allow assessments to be made, potential areas of geotechnical instability identified, as well as risk mapping, and impacts on critical infrastructure. The research and development is aimed at identifying the cause of failures, rather than the effects. As is the case with most land-based monitoring systems, this will mark a significant step forwards in taking preventative action prior to failures occurring.

“Much greater areas – 70km by 50km approximately – can be monitored using satellite imaging, without the time and resource associated with the traditional methods of field-based inspections and surveys. It also brings significant health and safety benefits and resource efficiencies than earth-based systems.”

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