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Mapping Ground Movements

Ground movements, whether driven by nature or human actions, have far-reaching consequences for our environment and infrastructure.

October 3, 2023
Ground motion in Oslo
Ground motion in Oslo

Ground movements can result from natural processes such as seasonal changes, weather patterns, landslides, or earthquakes. Conversely, human activities like mining, the extraction of groundwater, and the construction of dams can also cause ground motion.

When the ground is moving, structures nearby are also affected. This can result in significant damage to these structures. How can we gain an overview of where the ground is moving across a country or an entire continent?

This is achieved by using a technique called radar interferometry, which relies on data from radar satellites like the European Sentinel-1.

Norway's radar interferometry specialists were pioneers in introducing a service that displayed ground movements with high resolution across the entire country.

This was the online service known as InSAR Norway, which was launched in 2018. InSAR Norway is the world's first service that reveals ground movements throughout an entire country, whether it's in mountains, soil, or other geological layers.

The European Ground Motion Service (EGMS) was launched in 2022. Similar to InSAR Norway, EGMS relies on data from the Copernicus satellite Sentinel-1 and will be accessible for the public.

The Norwegian Space Agency has been supporting the radar interferometry community in Norway for over 20 years and has contributed to the development of InSAR Norway over the years.