The Leaning Tower of Pisa at one point was sinking at the rate of about one to two millimeters per year. But how do they know that? Every year, specialists in Italy make very precise measurements and compare them to the previous year’s measurements to determine the rate the tower is sinking. This sinking is also referred to as “subsidence.”
What is Subsidence Monitoring?
Subsidence is the gradual sinking or caving in of a building, structure, or area of land. Just as in the case of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, periodic precise measurements are taken and compared to previously known measurements to determine the rate of the subsidence. This process is called “subsidence monitoring.” Some sinking happens relatively quickly and can be dangerous for the public or workers, depending on whether it is a public or private structure. Monitoring subsidence can be a matter of public safety in some cases.
How Subsidence Measurements are Taken
Land surveyors use specialised equipment including surveying rods, interferometric synthetic aperture radar, GPS equipment, robotic equipment, digital differential leveling equipment, computers, and smartphones to do the job of subsidence monitoring. Depending on the size of the area they are measuring, this can require an entire team working in tandem.
Advantages of Drone-based Subsidence Monitoring
Measure Australia’s drones can take precise measurements of an area of land, on average, five times faster than traditional methods of land surveying. Rather than needing a whole team of surveyors, in most cases, there is just one person piloting the drone. Not only is drone-based subsidence monitoring faster, but it’s also extremely accurate and much more affordable compared to traditional methods. The data is captured once, completely, and accurately eliminating the need to revisit the site to double-check measurements.
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