With the advanced developments in software, hardware, and satellites scientists are able to predict and monitor changes in the earth’s surface and distortions caused by geological or industrial activities. These deployments aid in producing maps of the Earth’s deformations, which can be used to mitigate natural hazards. This project aims to produce deformation maps in the Kingdom’s surface due to natural and human-made disasters, using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) technology. This project will help to strengthen the relative research infrastructure in the field of satellite imaging using InSAR technology by introducing hardware, software, and qualified staff to KACST.
To achieve these objectives, the research project requires the acquisition of high-resolution satellite data from different vendors to cover the entire area of interest, and then, this data will be analyzed by a geographic information system. Using continuous geodetic monitoring stations distributed throughout the Kingdom will validate and correct the final results.
The computing and processing environment has been built to include operating systems, several servers, and data storage. Although the study area will cover the entirety of Saudi Arabia and surrounding borders - the so-called Middle East Map (MEM) - the Riyadh region has been selected as a sub-region for processing the available Sentinel-1 A\B satellite data. The total size of the necessary data increases depending on the satellite orbit and its mission.
So far, the data size has reached 15 terabytes for the selected area. For interpretation proposes, we have communicated with many government agencies locally and globally to gather all relative information and establish a uniform database that includes geological maps, faults, soil types, seismic events, etc. We aim to use the Generic InSAR Analysis ToolBox (GIAnt) to produce temporal deformation maps of the Earth’s surface for the area of interest. This study is a part of a collaboration agreement made between KACST and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) through the Joint Centers of Excellence Program at KACST.