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TAS - AGS Workshop on InSAR and its Application for Understanding Ground Movement

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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AGS Tasmania Radar Interferometry Workshop

Registrations now open: AGS Workshop on INSAR and its Applications for Understanding Ground Movement

Radar interferometry (InSAR) is a rapidly expanding technique that offers valuable insight into ground deformation for a range of applications, particularly in the field of geotechnics. Due to advancing radar technology and increasing numbers of satellites, the quality and frequency of spaceborne radar coverage available for InSAR is continually improving. An increasing range of radar datasets are becoming freely available, further increasing application potential in geotechnical studies of various scale. However, InSAR is a technically complex technology necessitating appropriate planning, processing, and interpretation. This workshop is aimed at providing end-users and those commissioning imagery a basic understanding of the technique and its limitations in order to improve success and avoid disappointment. Those interested in conducting their own processing using commercially available software require further theoretical and applied background that is beyond the scope of this workshop.


Dr. Bernhard Rabus is a Professor in the School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University, Canada. He has a geophysics background and is an internationally recognised expert in InSAR technology and processing with numerous academic publications to his credit, plus prior experience in government and industry roles. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in synthetic aperture radar applications, including InSAR, and undertakes a range of radar-based research activities.

Dr. Nicholas Roberts is a natural hazards geologist in the Geological Survey Branch of Mineral Resources Tasmania. He has strong interests in landslides and Quaternary geology with a range of academic publications and previous industry and government roles. Nick is also an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University and collaborates with Dr. Rabus as an end-user to apply InSAR to a range of geological applications in diverse settings, including Tasmania.

Registration now open

An expressions of interest process earlier this year indicated strong support for the workshop to the point that the course is theoretically at capacity. Registrations are now open with priority given to those who previously responded if they register within 1 month of this notice being issued. Others are welcome to apply immediately should any spaces be available once the priority period is finished.

Day 1 (12 February) – The basics:

Providing high-level understanding of InSAR and its applications for a range of ground deformation questions through key lecture topics. The session will be held in central Hobart starting at 8:30

Basic introduction to synthetic aperture radar and its differences from remote sensing techniques conventionally used in geotechnical investigations (e.g. aerial photography, optical satellite imagery, LiDAR).

Overview of various InSAR techniques, their processing chains, and their strengths and weaknesses for particular applications.

Case studies of InSAR applications for slope stability and ground subsidence including discussion of specific considerations relevant to particular project types (e.g. pit mine stability, ground subsidence, landslide mapping, urban geohazards).

Merits of outsourcing and in-house processing (e.g. what to ask for when commissioning third party providers; assessing tenders from third party providers; what skill sets and resources are required for in-house processing; what data formats to specify from your provider).

Analysing and integrating InSAR data with other spatial data sets in a GIS environment (interested parties can bring laptops with Google Earth and QGIS installed and do some basic hands-on exercises).

Day 2 (13 February) – One-day field exercise:

Relating features in the field with their representation in InSAR datasets and building on the understanding of InSAR’s utility for addressing geotechnical questions in various environments.

Field sites will include locations for which various radar data and, where possible, InSAR results are available.

Please note that the field exercise will involve short walks over uneven ground to various sites. You are strongly advised to bring warm clothing.

Day 3 (14 February) – Technicalities of InSAR:

Providing greater detail on the processing chain for various InSAR techniques as well as specifics of data selection and access.

This final, lecture-based component of the workshop targets more advanced users including those with interest in conducting their own InSAR processing. Activities and topics will include:

Defining geotechnical problems in a way your InSAR provider will understand.

Selecting suitable imagery and satellites in greater detail.

Processing methods in more detail.

Advanced quality assessment of delivered products.

Registration fees

Standard Member rates*

Day 1 – The basics of InSAR $AUD700

Day 2 – Field Exercise $AUD500

Day 3 – Technicalities of InSAR $AUD500

Note: a $250 loading on the total fee applies to those who are not AGS members

Members of the NZ Geotechnical Society will qualify for AGS member rates

Student discount negotiable on application.

For all questions regarding registration and payments please contact the Secretary. For all technical questions please contact Colin Mazengarb at

See details at AGS’s website ( for registration.