Major Disasters: Why We Can No Longer Tolerate Complacency or Reactive Strategies for Infrastructure Failures

November 7, 2023
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The Reactive Approach Isn’t Working Anymore
Traditional infrastructure monitoring methods are proving inadequate. Far too often, issues remain undetected for prolonged periods, and it’s only when disaster finally strikes that we scramble to initiate damage control measures. Amidst the flood of infrastructure disaster news, it’s time we focus and take action to find a solution.

Train derailments, sinkholes, road and bridge collapses, water main breaks, and mining accidents are all too common and have devastating import. Many times, these infrastructure failures could be easily detected through proactive mitigation strategies, which save lives, protect the economy, and preserve the environment.

Revolutionizing Infrastructure Resilience with ASTERRA EarthWorks
In response to this challenge, ASTERRA EarthWorks is used to mitigate the risks associated with various types of infrastructure failures, predicting where undetected faults or subsurface soil moisture content could compromise areas of infrastructure. This proactive solution not only prevents potential disasters but also serves to save lives and ensure the well-being of our environment.

In many instances, the infrastructure is aged, which leaves it vulnerable to failure. Aged infrastructure is overstressed, and its construction is beyond its intended life. On our website resources, ASTERRA digs into the use of EarthWorks for aged infrastructure, looking at complicated infrastructure, including areas that are highly traveled and those with goals for historic preservation, such as Italy.

Just as ASTERRA is now the global standard for efficient water leak detection, our EarthWorks solution is the standard for monitoring ground infrastructure and surrounding rights-of-way for underground soil moisture. A true technological first, ASTERRA is capable of monitoring soil characteristics such as underground moisture and trace minerals over immense areas quickly, easily, and continually.

EarthWorks in Action
Here is how it works. PolSAR, or polarimetric synthetic aperture radar, is carried on a wavelength that can provide subsurface data on soil characteristics. This satellite-based radar allows data gathering from low, Earth orbit satellite systems. ASTERRA revisits the same regions every few days or weeks to monitor vast expanses. All insights derived are processed using a series of patented image and signal processing algorithms and AI models to translate the data into visualizations of the location and the soil phenomena. Infrastructure monitored may include earthen dams and levees, roadways, rail-beds, mines, and large commercial properties.

Underground soil moisture indicates areas of concern and potential failure so that immediate and long-term problems can be found and addressed before additional damage and safety issues occur. Since ASTERRA provides alerts and notifications for priority zones that require more urgent attention, stakeholders can address critical issues in a timely manner and areas can be monitored continually for further evaluation.

ASTERRA’s Impact
Having detected 100,000 leaks, an achievement that has saved over 368 billion gallons of potable water, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 235,520 metric tons, and saved 920,000 MWH of energy, ASTERRA is now making preventative infrastructure maintenance easier than ever.

Keeping the people on Earth safe and protecting the climate from unnecessary change are critical values held dear by the entire team at ASTERRA; it is what drives our continual improvement and expansion. All our solutions, including EarthWorks, support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal SDG 6 to ensure access to clean water for all, SDG 9, for resilient infrastructure and sustainable industrialization and innovation, and SDG 13, to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Our EO Discover platform provides real-time data to support stakeholders and decision-makers in making informed decisions on repairs and in meeting their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.

Because of the recurring climate concerns and mass disasters, greater attention and more responsibility for taking pro-active measures to mitigate damage is being placed on entities in numerous industries every day across the globe. For example, making sure roads are safe is one of the five elements of the safe systems approach that the United States Department of Transportation has adopted (learn more about this approach here). Their intention is to identify highly critical sections in a road network by examining the network operation. The goal is to determine risk factors and observe critical issues for better planning improvements. Using satellite solutions such as EarthWorks simplifies and makes achieving safe systems accessible and cost-effective.

Reactionary strategies neither save lives nor mitigate damage. Contact us to learn how pro-active strategies using satellites and ASTERRA’s patented technology will save lives and our climate.

Please contact us to learn more about ASTERRA’s solutions.

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