The ESA has selected Amec to develop and expand the use of satellite earth observation (EO) technologies to locate and evaluate land subsidence.
As well as developing the technology, Amec will market the benefits to potential users.
Under an ESA-funded technology development contract, Amec's earth and environmental division will integrate earth observation technologies to address subsidence problems. The agreed budget for the three year contract is E 750,000 (£525,000).
Amec will develop the application and use of space-borne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) in the investigation and assessment of ground subsidence.
InSAR uses satellite-based data acquired at two different times along orbits of a similar trajectory to detect miniscule changes in the ground surface. It can map subsidence with a vertical precision of a few millimetres, and can be a valuable tool to detect zones of ground settlement.
Amec will also employ the services of UK based Infoterra to provide optical imaging services that can be used to interpret InSAR data. The Land Use Planning and Natural Risks Division of BRGM (French Geological Survey) will provide scientific review of the project.