Remote Sensing: A New Revolution in Geotechnical Engineering

by Ellen M. Rathje, P.E., Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Warren S. Bellows Centennial Professor; Austin, TX,,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2016, Vol. 20, Issue 1, Pg. 54-60

Document Type: Feature article


Remote sensing in the form of satellite imagery has become part of our everyday life—from displaying boring locations at a job site to the various mapping apps on our smart phones that help us get there. In the past, geotechnical engineers might have searched out air photos to help evaluate current and past conditions at a site (e.g., drainage features, faults, failure scarps), but now we can quickly open Google EarthTM to view a site and use the time slider to see how conditions have evolved over the last, 10, 20, or even 50 years. The ubiquitous availability of high-resolution imagery has made us all appreciate the value of the “bird’s eye view” to our work.

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