Practical Considerations before Installing Ground-Based Geodetic Infrastructure for Integrated InSAR and cGNSS Monitoring of Vertical Land Motion

Sensors (Basel). 2017 Jul 31;17(8):1753. doi: 10.3390/s17081753.


Continuously operating Global Navigation Satellite Systems (cGNSS) can be used to convert relative values of vertical land motion (VLM) derived from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to absolute values in a global or regional reference frame. Artificial trihedral corner reflectors (CRs) provide high-intensity and temporally stable reflections in SAR time series imagery, more so than naturally occurring permanent scatterers. Therefore, it is logical to co-locate CRs with cGNSS as ground-based geodetic infrastructure for the integrated monitoring of VLM. We describe the practical considerations for such co-locations using four case-study examples from Perth, Australia. After basic initial considerations such as land access, sky visibility and security, temporary test deployments of co-located CRs with cGNSS should be analysed together to determine site suitability. Signal to clutter ratios from SAR imagery are used to determine potential sites for placement of the CR. A significant concern is whether the co-location of a deliberately designed reflecting object generates unwanted multipath (reflected signals) in the cGNSS data. To mitigate against this, we located CRs >30 m from the cGNSS with no inter-visibility. Daily RMS values of the zero-difference ionosphere-free carrier-phase residuals, and ellipsoidal heights from static precise point positioning GNSS processing at each co-located site were then used to ascertain that the CR did not generate unwanted cGNSS multipath. These steps form a set of recommendations for the installation of such geodetic ground-infrastructure, which may be of use to others wishing to establish integrated InSAR-cGNSS monitoring of VLM elsewhere.

Keywords: InSAR; TerraSAR-X; continuous GNSS; corner reflectors; displacement monitoring; geodetic networks; sentinel-1; vertical land motion.