The work on GIMS project goes on. Today we delve into the issue of Active Corner Reflector antennas, an essential element of GIMS units developed by the Spanish project partner, CTTC.
Elisabetta Giromini – ComoNExT – interviewed Michele Crosetto, Geomatics Division Head at the Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC), responsible for the development of Active Corner Reflectors to be integrated into GIMS units nowadays deployed in two sites in Slovenia for validation.
Q. What more accurate information you get from Active Corner Reflectors for landslides movements?
A. The Active Corner Reflectors can provide precise deformation of landslides or other deformation phenomena. The used technique is Interferometric SAR, which is based on satellite-based sensors. The Interferometric technique suffers limitations in measuring deformation over vegetated areas: it is like “blind”, while – with the help of the Active Corner Reflectors – the measurement can be performed in virtually any type of land cover.
Q. What is the utility of this information for the monitoring activity?
A. The information derived from the Active Corner Reflectors consists of time series of deformation, i.e. the Active Corner Reflectors provide the time history of the deformation of a given set of points, which are strategically located over a given deformation phenomenon. This is key to understand the kinematics of such a phenomenon, e.g. its quiescence, its incipient deformation, its acceleration, etc. This, in turn, is fundamental to properly manage the risk associated to the deformation.
Q. How can this be of use for authorities/civil protection?
A. C The Active Corner Reflector can be deployed in any landslide, whose activity (deformation) can affect urban or industrial areas, isolated buildings, streets, railways, highways, etc. In other word, where there is a risk. In this way, the civil protection or other types of public authority will be able to take the appropriate risk management measures.
Q. Is there any room for improvement about GIMS units?
A. The Active Corner Reflector need a power source. This can be a solar panel or a battery. However, this latter case requires frequent maintenance visit in the site. In several cases, this can be a severe limitation. The solar panel is a better solution and it is now integrated into GIMS units.
Q. Would you recommend this system to authorities/civil protection/other?
A. Yes, in fact we are we are proposing such a solution to different types of public authorities and to private companies. In the short term, we are planning to use the Active Corner Reflectors in a landslide located in Andorra, which represents a risk for the main road that connects the country to Catalonia.
Again, like in the previous interview with the Geological Institute of Slovenia, the main criticism of GIMS units is linked to the power source. For now, solar panels are being used and this seems to be the best possible solution.
GIMS gets closer and closer to the market! Stay tuned.