Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 415–426 | Cite as

InSAR detection of residual settlement of an ocean reclamation engineering project: a case study of Hong Kong International Airport

  • Qing ZhaoEmail author
  • Hui Lin
  • Wei Gao
  • Howard A. Zebker
  • Albert Chen
  • Kin Yeung
Special Section: Original Article Regional Environmental Oceanography in the South China Sea and Its Adjacent Areas (REO-SCS): I


Man-made land or islands that are reclaimed from the sea are suitable for building airports, harbors, and industry parks for material transportation because of their broad air and land spaces. However, the reclaimed foundation settlement process is of public concern, including the continuous impact of ocean processes on its stability. The majority of the buildings and facilities of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) are built on a reclaimed foundation. The reclaimed foundation has been in residual settlement since completion of the filling project in 1994. In this study, we use persistent scatterer interferometry (PSI) and ENVISAT (European Satellite) advanced synthetic aperture radar (ASAR) data to detect the residual settlement rates from 19 April 2006 to 9 January 2008. We use ground truth data to develop empirical correction models for correcting systematic biases in the ASAR PSI-detected settlement rates. The corrected data follow the Lorentz distribution well, implying that the residual settlement process is dominated by two modes or categories of settlement rates. The first category represents a relatively stable state and the second category represents a continuous settlement state. A ground settlement rate map of HKIA shows that an area of the Passenger Terminal Building and an area of the Southern Runway are two relatively stable areas. There are two major continuous settlement areas. One covers the airport Midfield. Another is along the coastline, implying that attention should be paid to impacts of ocean processes on the stability of airport foundations.


Ocean reclamation engineering project Ground settlement Hong Kong International Airport Persistent scatterer interferometry ASAR images 



This research was partially supported by the Research Grants Council (RGC) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region though Project CUHK4665/06H and a Direct Grant of the Chinese University of Hong Kong though Project 2020927. The authors would like to thank the Airport Authority Hong Kong for providing ground truth data.


  1. Crosetto M, Agudo M, Capes R, Marsh S (2007a) GMES Terrafirma: validation of PSI for users: results of the provence inter-comparison. In: Proceedings of Envisat symposium, Montreux, Switzerland, 23–27 Apr 2007Google Scholar
  2. Crosetto M, Agudo M, Raucoules D, Bourgine B, Michele MD, Cozannet GL, Bremmer C, Veldkamp JG, Tragheim D, Bateson L, Engdahl M (2007b) Validation of persistent scatterers interferometry over a mining test site: results of the PSIC4 project. In: Proceedings of Envisat symposium, Montreux, Switzerland, 23–27 Apr 2007Google Scholar
  3. Ding XL, Liu GX, Li ZW, Li ZL, Chen YQ (2004) Ground subsidence monitoring in Hong Kong with satellite SAR interferometry. Photogram Eng Remote Sens 70(10):1151–1156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. European Space Agency (2010) ASAR product handbook, issue 1.1, pp 191–209.
  5. Ferretti A, Prati C, Rocca F (2000) Nonlinear subsidence rate estimation using permanent scatterers in differential SAR interferometry. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 38(5):2202–2212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ferretti A, Prati C, Rocca F (2001) Permanent scatterers in SAR interferometry. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 39(1):8–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferretti A, Savio G, Barzaqhi R, Borqhi A, Musazzi S, Novali F, Prati C, Rocca F (2007) Submillimeter accuracy of InSAR time series: experimental validation. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 45(5):1142–1153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. GAMMA (2006) GAMMA software documentation. GAMMA Co., Bern, Switzerland, pp 1–30Google Scholar
  9. Hoeksema RJ (2007) Three stages in the history of land reclamation in The Netherlands. Irrig Drain 56(S1):S113–S126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hooper A, Zebker H, Segall P, Kampes B (2004) A new method for measuring deformation on volcanoes and other natural terrains using InSAR persistent scatterers. Geophys Res Lett 31(23):1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hooper A, Segall P, Zebker H (2007) Persistent scatterer InSAR for crustal deformation analysis, with application to Volcan Alcedo, Galapagos. J Geophys Res 112(B7):1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hu L, Jiao JJ (2010) Modeling the influences of land reclamation on groundwater systems: a case study in Shekou peninsula, Shenzhen, China. Eng Geol 114(3–4):144–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kampes BM (2006) Radar interferometry: persistent scatterer technique. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  14. Lanari R, Mora O, Manunta M, Mallorqui JJ, Berardino P, Sansosti E (2004) A small-baseline approach for investigating deformations on full-resolution differential SAR interferograms. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 42(7):1377–1386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lee S, Kim K, Oh HJ (2006) Ground subsidence hazard analysis in an abandoned underground coal mine area using probabilistic and logistic regression models. In: Geosciences and remote sensing symposium, Denver, CO, July 31–August 4 2006, pp 1549–1552Google Scholar
  16. Li Z, Fielding EJ, Cross P (2009) Integration of InSAR time-series analysis and water-vapor correction for mapping postseismic motion after the 2003 Bam (Iran) earthquake. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 47(9):3220–3230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Liao M, Jiang L, Lin H, Huang B (2008) Urban change detection based on coherence and intensity characteristics of SAR imagery. Photogram Eng Remote Sens 74(8):999–1006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Liu G, Ding X, Chen Y, Li ZL, Li ZW (2001) Ground settlement of Chek Lap Kok Airport, Hong Kong, detected by satellite synthetic aperture radar interferometry. Chin Sci Bull 46(21):1778–1782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Liu G, Buckley SM, Ding X, Chen Q, Luo X (2009) Estimating spatiotemporal ground deformation with improved persistent scatterer radar interferometry. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 47(9):3209–3219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McFadden T, Siebe C (1986) Stabilization of a permafrost subsidence in the airport runway at Bethel Alaska. In: Cold regions engineering. ASCE, New York, pp 118–133Google Scholar
  21. Mora O, Mallorqui JJ, Broquetas A (2003) Linear and nonlinear terrain deformation maps from a reduced set of interferometric SAR images. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 41(10):2243–2253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Perissin D, Ferretti A (2007) Urban-target recognition by means of repeated spaceborne SAR images. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 45(12):4043–4058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Plant GW, Oakervee DE (1998) Hong Kong International Airport: civil engineering design. Proc Inst Civil Eng 126(1):15–34Google Scholar
  24. Plant GW, Covil CS, Hughes RA (1998) Geology, surveying, reclamation settlement. In: Site preparation of the new Hong Kong International Airport. Thomas Telford, London, UK, pp 1–45, 387–416, 515–517Google Scholar
  25. Raucoules D, Bourgine B, Michele MD, Cozannet GL, Closset L, Bremmer C, Veldkamp H, Tragheim D, Bateson L, Crosetto M, Agudo M, Engdahl M (2007) Persistent scatterer interferometry independent validation and intercomparison of results. BRGM, Paris, France, Executive summary, BRGM/RP-55640-FRGoogle Scholar
  26. Rocca F (2007) Modeling interferogram stacks. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 45(10):3289–3299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shu W (1998) Dramatic design process, foster and partners. In: The new Hong Kong International Airport. Felix Leung, Hong Kong, China, pp 1–152Google Scholar
  28. Son S, Wang M (2009) Environmental responses to a land reclamation project in South Korea. Eos Trans AGU 90(44):398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Suzuki T (2003) Economic and geographic backgrounds of land reclamation in Japanese ports. Mar Pollut Bull 47(1–6):226–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Teatini P, Ferronato M, Gambolati G, Bertoni W, Gonella M (2005) A century of land subsidence in Ravenna. Environ Geol 47(6):831–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wegmüller U (2003) Potential of interferometry point target analysis using small data stacks. In: 3rd international workshop on ERS SAR interferometry ‘FRINGE03’. Frascati, Italy, 1–5 Dec 2003, pp 1–3 (CDROM)Google Scholar
  32. Wegmüller U, Walter D, Spreckels V, Werner CL (2009) Nonuniform ground motion monitoring with TerraSAR-X persistent scatterer interferometry. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 48(2):895–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Werner C, Wegmüller U, Strozzi T, Wiesmannn A (2003) Interferometric point target analysis for deformation mapping. In: Geosciences and remote sensing symposium, Toulouse, France, 21–25 Jul 2003, pp 1–3 (CDROM)Google Scholar
  34. Zebker HA, Villasenor J (1992) Decorrelation in interferometric radar echoes. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 30(5):950–959CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Zhao Q, Lin H, Jiang L, Chen F, Cheng S (2009) A study of ground deformation in the Guangzhou urban area with persistent scatterer interferometry. Sensors 9(1):503–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zhi B, Liang J, Lu Y (2001) Impacts of soft soils on urban construction in Pearl River Delta economic zone. In: Soft soil engineering. Taylor & Francis, London, pp 3–11Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qing Zhao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hui Lin
    • 2
  • Wei Gao
    • 1
  • Howard A. Zebker
    • 3
  • Albert Chen
    • 3
  • Kin Yeung
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science, Ministry of EducationEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Space and Earth Information ScienceChinese University of Hong KongHong KongPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Electrical EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

Personalised recommendations