Railway infrastructure monitoring using satellite radar data

August 1, 2014 in

Journal Paper

Ling Chang
Rolf Dollevoet
Ramon Hanssen

ISSN 2049-5358
DOI 10.4203/ijrt.3.2.5


International Journal of Railway Technology
Volume 3, Issue 2,

Publisher: SAXE-COBURG
Publishing date: August 1, 2014

radar interferometry, railway infrastructure, satellite remote sensing

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The feasibility of monitoring the stability of railway infrastructure using dedicated satellite radar observations is demonstrated. These measurements are able to detect mm-level changes in the track geometry with a bi-weekly measurement update and a high spatial resolution by using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) techniques. When deformation of the infrastructure is mainly limited to the vertical and horizontal transversal direction, it is possible to derive the deformation vector. We present a methodology for fine-tuning this technology to railway infrastructure for routine and near-real-time monitoring of spatio-temporal changes in geometry. The precision of the obtained deformation vector components is analyzed and described in terms of the variance-covariance structure. The method is demonstrated on a segment of the Betuweroute, a freight railway between the Rotterdam harbor in the Netherlands towards Germany, eastwards, by using 248 satellite images from the TerraSAR-X satellite acquired between 2009 and 2013, with a bi-weekly interval.