Implementation and configuration of GB-SAR for landslide monitoring: Case study in Minami-Aso, Kumamoto

Amila Karunathilake, Lilog Zou, Kazutaka Kikuta, Masahiko Nishimoto, Motoyuki Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the applicability of ground-based synthetic aperture radar (GB-SAR) as an early warning system for landslide monitoring is discussed. The effectiveness of the differential interferometric SAR (DInSAR) technique used in GB-SAR depends strongly on the geography of the monitored location. Therefore, an assessment of the system compatibility to select the most appropriate remote monitoring method is essential prior to any hardware implementation. In the preliminary part of this study, a 3D model was created using a LiDAR survey, and proposed locations for GB-SAR installation were examined. A 3D simulation was carried out to estimate the illumination from each of the proposed GB-SAR locations. The proposed model increased the efficiency of the GB-SAR positioning by minimising installation cost and time. Hardware configuration parameters, such as platform height, maximum range, and the direction and view angle of the radar line of sight were estimated by considering the optimum reflected power and ground illumination. Unlike on flat terrain, deployment of GB-SAR in a mountainous area is challenging because of surface anomalies and continuous changes in meteorological parameters, such as atmospheric temperature, pressure and relative humidity. In this study, the experimental site was located 3 km from the Aso volcano, and the weather conditions in the Aso caldera became a critical factor in accurately estimating the interferometric phase. The presence of atmospheric artefacts also compromises the applicability of the classical DInSAR technique. Here, we minimised the atmospheric phase screen by estimating the optimum data acquisition interval from GB-SAR monitoring under extreme weather conditions. The developed methodologies were then used to design a new landslide early warning system that measures real-time displacement over an area of 1 km2 within 10 s of scanning. This fully automatic monitoring system updates every 15 min and presents displacement information in a 3D interface. The system we have developed has been deployed for continuous monitoring of the mountainous environment of a road reconstruction site in Minami-Aso, Kumamoto, Japan where a large-scale landslide was triggered following the Kumamoto earthquake in 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-220
Number of pages11
JournalExploration Geophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 4


  • 3D modelling
  • GIS
  • displacement
  • remote sensing
  • sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Implementation and configuration of GB-SAR for landslide monitoring: Case study in Minami-Aso, Kumamoto'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this