Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


I.MODI Report Summary

Project ID: 720121

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - I.MODI (Implemented MOnitoring system for structural DIsplacement)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The aim of the project is the development of a service to fully employ Earth Observation (EO) data into standard procedures devoted to building damage assessment thus contributing to implement mitigation actions for potential structural failures.
The project brings satellite-based technologies and services to a non-space operational environment. In particular, it exploits and simplifies the information obtained from Differential SAR Interferometry (DInSAR) analysis in order to identify and monitor significant ground deformation that can lead to structural damages. DinSAR is a well-known remote sensing technology that uses satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to obtain displacement time series of targets on the earth surface that are able to reflect radar signal.
A large quantity of EO imagery currently exists in archive facilities (from 1992 to today) and is planned to arrive (thanks to Copernicus Program) but advanced tools and applications to exploit this large volume of data for an “end-user” are not as plentiful.
I.MODI provides a valuable tool in situations where numerous buildings need to be assessed in short time. It could be also an effective tool to prioritize further detailed investigations on critical buildings. Moreover, it may be adopted to share information between the same user groups, by creating a technical/social network for professionals.
The safety of civil engineering projects is assured not only by reliable design methods and correct execution, but also by a constant control of the behavior during their lifetime. In particular, accurate and timely knowledge of the real structural deformation conditions is of primary importance and can support the implementation of simulation models to identify anomalies and to anticipate critical conditions improving the capability of satisfying safety requirements.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first year, several activities were carried out following the projects planning.
A significant effort was devoted to communication and dissemination activities, that is:
- at national level institutional actors engaged in the surveillance of the built-up areas and SMEs companies active in complementary field of investigationwere involved in WP2 projects meetings. At international level contacts were established with stakeholders in South America and with private companies in Chile;
- an assessment of the demand and supply of the EO market worldwide and in Europe, alongside a focus on SAR based services in Europe and Italy was carried out;
- the feasibility of submitting a request for obtaining Intellectual Property Rights was assessed. The analysis was conducted first to investigate the conditions for a patent release of the I.MODI service and, secondarily, to define the condition for the I.MODI trademark was registered in the EUIPO platform;
- branding (logo design) and web communication strategy (web site design), and the video and social media plans were developed. IMODI is present in all social media (Linkedin, Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube);
For the technical activities, the main effort was dedicated to:
- a critical evaluation of the requirements for the I.MODI service following the standards and expectations of the potential users on each segments (building, road and dams);
- the analyses of the standard monitoring approaches to identify the optimal integration criteria between EO and ground based data and to highlight the advantages of using EO data in numerical models for damage assessment;
- the design of the Virtual Environment of I.MODI service and the cloud-computing based infrastructure based on the system requirements and specifications;
- the definition of the technical and operational requirements of the downstream service that is the functional procedures for each product in terms of algorithms and implementation strategy;
- the development of two web-tools to collect and standardize input data deriving from different DInSAR data providers;
- the development and testing of the processing chain for the delivery of the service products were developed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The services based on satellite earth observation have proven to be extremely effective and reliable in various fields including monitoring weather changes, disasters and natural calamities, stability of infrastructures, oil and mineral deposits, fisheries, transport, ship routing, forest mapping, utilities and availability of water sources. Many private as well as public users have been increasingly benefiting from these techniques. For example: insurance companies (eg. flood-affected areas to assess the number of casualties), manufacturing and utilities companies (eg. weather forecast), agriculture operators (eg. weather forecast, high spatial resolution images for land use and vegetation assessment) and public authorities in charge of the control of urban areas and the management of relief operations during natural disasters. The industry is now capable to tackle social, economic, and environmental challenges as it has been gradually evolving from a government, defense and intelligence based sector to a more open market driven by industrial, business and civilian purposes. The sector is now made of several companies that develop and offer products and services to handle multiple needs. The satellite EO industry considerably improved its value proposition in the last several years. Besides spatial resolution, satellites now propose higher spectral resolution. In addition, the considerable extension of the commercial EO satellites’ receiving ground station network improved the satellite EO value proposition and consequently increased the market potential. However, UAV EO products are getting stronger as UAV capabilities are rapidly increasingly (NSR’s Satellite-Based Earth Observation (EO), 7th Edition).
In terms of data type, along with the optical sensors, SAR satellite technology has been rapidly evolving achieving resolution and revisit time. The increased supply and performance of the SAR data coupled with an expected sharp reduction of SAR data prices in the next years, will push for the development of value added services in terms of accuracy and reliability to a wide range of potential users. New business models and new product value propositions are expected to reshape the sector in the next 5 years thus unleashing a significant hidden market potential. The market trend for interferometry based monitoring products is characterized by a significant annual rate growth (estimated + 10 – 15%; the estimate is based on insights from the interviews with market players and potential users).
I.MODI range of services/levels is defined in a modular/flexible way in order to match the requirements of a wide group of potential users (in terms of precision, length of time series and engineering interpretation of the results and related levels of sophistication) including both public and private entities. The assessment of the competitive landscape has shown that the main market operators do not currently offer significant added value benefits to their customers (specifically in the downstream/user end of the value chain) and do not seem to be able to differentiate their products. The competitors’ existing market advantages essentially rely on the established network of relations with some primary “big” users.

Related information

Record Number: 198466 / Last updated on: 2017-05-19