Rockfalls and landslides are natural hazards of special relevance to mountainous areas with severe human and economic consequences. In Switzerland, for instance, hazards due to slope instabilities affect about 6% of the territory and the estimated annual cost for protection against landslides amounts to CHF 2.9 billion. The densely inhabited Alps, with its large network of transport infrastructures, are particularly sensitive to these types of hazards.
Railway and road infrastructure managers require ground-motion data in order to ensure a safe and reliable operation along their networks. Their most important need is a wide-area early-warning system providing probabilities and intensities of potential hazard endangering the infrastructure. In case of imminent danger of a sensible section of the network, terrestrial deformation monitoring will be started and measurements repeated over time. An early warning system is required in emergency situations.
The MATIST services provide ground motion information to operators of alpine transportation infrastructures such as railway companies, institutes representing the national roads and companies from the energy sector. The goal is the early detection and monitoring of geological mass movements potentially influencing transportation infrastructure.
With their solution they intend to provide to operators of alpine transportation infrastructures ground motion data, which can include motion of the transportation infrastructure, motion of rocks or terrain slopes above transportation infrastructure, and surface motion caused by tunnel excavation and water-management. In order to obtain high precision data in large areas, a combination of three space-borne and terrestrial observation methods is used.
The information from satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR) is well complemented by the very good and flexible temporal coverage of the Terrestrial Radar Interferometry (TRI) and GPS/GNSS-Sensor measurements. This results in a highly effective monitoring service sensitive to millimeter to centimeter scale deformation, covering not only large areas in a preventive screening mode but also local mass movement processes during emergency situations.