Greece's ups and downs

16 April 2013

A new data processor is creating maps of land deformation from satellite radar data over larger areas and with higher precision than ever before. These maps can be used to detect and monitor geological hazards.

The land beneath our feet is not always stable. In some areas, the ground is sinking through mining, earthquakes and natural gas extraction, among other factors. There are also areas that are rising from, for example, expanding volcanoes or the collision between tectonic plates.

Measuring these changes is not always easy, especially across vast areas or in places that are not easily accessible. Radars on satellites, however, can map these changes on a global scale and with millimetre-precision.

A new Wide Area Processor, or WAP, has now been developed to process the full radar data over a specific area automatically and then mosaic adjacent 'datastacks' with uniform quality, yielding country-sized maps of land deformation with unprecedented accuracy.

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