Measurement of deformations of the earth's surface from space

Determination of local and regional deformations of the earth's surface by interferometric processing of radar data from satellite-based systems

The research area InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) deals with the interferometric evaluation of radar data from satellite-based measuring systems with the aim of deriving the displacement and velocity field on the earth's surface. Radar data of a certain wavelength, typically the X, C or L band, are used as the data basis and were recorded over a period of several years for a descending and ascending orbit.


A research focus at the GIK is the further development of algorithms for the joint evaluation of punctiform and areal, time-stable radar backscatterers. These objects are mainly established on buildings, rocks or non-vegetated areas. The method is suitable for the extensive recording of ground movements and topographical changes on volcanoes as well as in tectonically active and mining areas.


The end products of the simultaneous interferometric evaluation of a large number of radar images are speed fields with high spatial resolution and accuracies in the range of sub-mm/a, measured in the direction of the connecting line between the ground point and the radar antenna (line-of-sight). A second research focus at GIK is the integration of deformation-determining sensors such as InSAR, GNSS and leveling with the aim of capturing the speed field on the earth's surface in all three spatial directions.

Recent geodynamics Upper Rhine Graben

Derivation of surface movements from leveling, GNSS and SAR interferometry

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Monitoring large dams

Regional deformation measurements at the Enguri Dam in Georgia

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Security of underground storages

Surface movements over the Epe cavern field measured from space

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Risks of flooding mines

Surface movements in Saarland and Ruhr area due to mine water rises

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Monitoring active volcanoes

Quantification of magmatic extraction rates and monitoring of the stability of active volcanic domes using differential digital elevation models

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Subsurface Deformations due to Induced Seismicity

Using a combination of InSAR, GNSS and levelling data to monitor subsurface deformations due to induced seismicity near geothermal wells

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Visualisation of a neural network for PS-InSAR
AI with PS-InSAR

Surface Motion Patterns Derived from PS-InSAR Observations with Artificial Intelligence.

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M.Sc. Bence Ambrus