Risk prevention for roads, railways, dams, levees, property, mining operations
ASTERRA Earthworks supports risk and disaster prevention efforts by detecting and analyzing underground soil moisture wherever it may predict or potentially cause critical infrastructure to fail. As a satellite-based solution, EarthWorks can assess up to 40 linear miles and 1,400 sq miles (64 km and 3600 sq km) at once, bringing significantly greater efficiency to maintaining the resilience of infrastructure that protects lives, property, and the environment.
From a 390-mile orbit, EarthWorks detects soil moisture using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to peer up to 10 feet (3m) below the surface, thus avoiding the time and cost of ground crews, sensors, complex lab procedures, and the destruction of terrain by gathering samples. EarthWorks assessments are easily repeated at chosen intervals to show changes over time.
The world’s aging infrastructure is now battered repeatedly by the extreme weather of a changing climate, weather it was not built to handle. Today, safe, responsible risk assessment and failure prevention of roads, railways, dams, levees, property, and mining operations require a clear view at all times of underground soil moisture.
Mine operators use EarthWorks to see where water is seeping from waste dams and production pipelines, collecting under roads and heavy equipment sites, and weakening hillsides. The largest operations, including tailings (waste) dams can be continually monitored to improve design and safety, anticipate slope failures, and document compliance.
Extreme weather events have put populations living in the flood hazard zones of dams and levees at particular risk. EarthWorks provides mine and levee operators with soil moisture maps that highlight areas of excess moisture and seepage, helping to prevent disaster by giving operators time to study and mitigate problems early.
Soil moisture can threaten rail lines from below and above. Moisture underneath or adjacent to rail beds can weaken the soil to the point it gives way. Moisture in the hillsides above railways can cause the hill to slip onto the tracks, a known cause of several noted rail disasters. A map of soil moisture along the length of the line can prevent these problems.
EarthWorks gives transportation managers an overview of moisture concentrated under paved roadways, the surrounding rights of way, and adjacent hillsides above and below. The service is used to conduct predictive and corrective maintenance, evaluate and improve drainage systems, anticipate sinkholes and other failures, and reduce maintenance costs.
Owners and managers of large property installations use EarthWorks to locate and assess underground moisture beneath parking lots, roadways, sidewalks, and other paved surfaces. Likely failure locations are mapped out so owners can mitigate problems prior to more extensive damage.
Our EO Discover platform is where EarthWorks subscribers will be able to view the colors and contours representing percentages of soil moisture. The data can also be downloaded as sets of GIS (Geographic Information System) files and imported into all major GIS platforms.See EO Discover
EarthWorks is a powerful new tool in the drive to protect human life and property by ensuring the world’s infrastructure is strong and resilient enough to withstand the effects of climate change. It gives engineers and managers the data to find and mitigate risk, keep populations informed, and make informed long-term decisions. It also allows scarce human and financial capital to be used far more efficiently so that more can be devoted to where the needs are greatest.
ASTERRA EarthWorks helps customers meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 9 and 13, for resilient infrastructure, innovation, and combating climate change.
The technology behind EarthWorks marks the biggest innovation in soil moisture detection in more than 80 years. By mapping excess soil moisture near or under dams, levees, roads, railways, and mining operations from space, EarthWorks help can help prevent structural failure in the near term and provide data for building in long-term resilience.
Many of the dams and levees that manage water and prevent flooding are over 50 years old, some much older, while the number of people living in their flood hazard zones has grown to the millions. As extreme weather events caused by climate change put additional stress on these structures, EarthWorks can show managers where moisture-related vulnerabilities create risks so that lives and property can be protected.