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Comparison between Differential SAR interferometry
and ground measurements data in the displacement monitoring
of the earth-dam of Conza della Campania (Italy)

Di Martire Diego1, Iglesias Ruben2, Monells Dani2, Centolanza Giuseppe2, Sica Stefania3, Ramondini Massimo1, Pagano Luca1, Mallorquí Jordi J.2, Calcaterra Domenico4


1 Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Federico II University of Naples, via Claudio 21, 80125 Naples, Italy

2 Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSLab), Department of Signal Theory and Communications, Technical University of Catalonia, c/Jordi Girona 1-3, Ed. D-3, 08034 Barcelona, Spain

3 Faculty of Engineering, University of Sannio, p.za Roma 21, 82100 Benevento, Italy

4 Department of Earth Sciences, Environment and Resources, Federico II University of Naples, Largo San Marcellino 10, 80138 Naples, Italy


Remote Sensing of Environment, 148, 58–69, 2014

doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2014.03.014



calcaterra dinsarThis paper presents the application of Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) interferometry (DInSAR) algorithms for the precise monitoring of earth dams ground deformation. The test site selected for this study is the Conza Dam, located in the southern Apennines (Italy), very close to the epicenter of the big earthquake (Mw=6.9) which took place on November 23th, 1980, striking the Irpinia region. Among the multiple advanced DInSAR techniques developed by the SAR community during the last decade, this work uses the so-called SUBSOFT software, developed by the Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSLab) group from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), which is based on the use of Coherent Pixels Technique (CPT) algorithm. The analysis is carried out using 51 ENVIronmental SATellite-Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ENVISAT-ASAR) images, corresponding to the period from 29th of November 2002 to the 30th of July 2010. In this framework, ground displacements recorded by a network of conventional ground-based sensors are also available for the same temporal span. Indeed, the embankment dam is well instrumented to measure internal settlements by means of cross-arms placed in six different cross-sections, and superficial displacements by means of targets for precise leveling. A statistical analysis has been performed to carry out a better comparison between the measurements obtained with the conventional field sensors and the interferometric data. The high agreement between final DInSAR displacements and in-situ instrumental data, demonstrates the reliability of such technique for the precise monitoring of civil infrastructures, and concretely, in dams with a high exposure factor and its consequent risk.


Key-words: DInSAR, Interferometry, Earth dam, Ground deformation