Geodetic monitoring

We are interested in monitoring the geometry of the earth, and develop methods and techniques to do this using space technology.

Even in every-day life, everybody can notice that the shape of the planet earth is changing continuously. Most directly, this happens when streets patterns are changing, when new buildings are constructed or when old ones are demolished. These changes are part of the built environment, and include the changes in vital infrastructure such as dikes and bridges.

Morandi bridge collapse, Italy, 14 August 2018

Weakness detected in a dike in Groningen

Changes of the natural environment are not always that easy to observe. Moving continents, the buildup of strain in tectonically active regions leading to earthquakes, and the movements of volcanoes, glaciers, or landslides are influencing the shape of the planet on longer time scales, and are therefore harder to observe by the naked eye. Unless when they lead to catastrophic changes, such as earthquakes, tsunami’s, volcanic eruptions, catastrophic landslides.

Finally there is the interaction between man’s activities and his natural environment. By producing gas from natural reservoirs, by pumping water to drain our polders, or by emitting CO2 to change the sea level, man is changing the natural shape of the earth. Land subsidence, rising sea levels, or instable slopes due to deforestation are the direct effects of these processes.

Finally there is the interaction between man’s activities and his natural environment. By producing gas from natural reservoirs, by pumping water to drain our polders, or by emitting CO2 to change the sea level, man is changing the natural shape of the earth. Land subsidence, rising sea levels, or instable slopes due to deforestation are the direct effects of these processes.

Monitoring the effects of gas production in Groningen

As the earth is increasingly complex, it is  our goal to develop methodology to be able to monitor these changes in the shape of the earth: everywhere, always, and with the required precision and reliability. If we are successful, we can not only save lives and prevent economic damage, but we can also improve life and make the business case for new products and services. We therefore work closely with industry, government, and an increasingly more important role is played by space technology, in particular satellites. We work closely together with space agencies such as ESA and NASA, to develop new satellites, and to engineer new observation technologies, to unravel the secrets of the changing earth. 

Using satellite technology to monitor earth

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