Multiscale monitoring for health assessment of levees in New Orleans

Victoria Bennett, Xiaolei Lv, Mourad Zeghal, Tarek Abdoun, Birsen Yazici, Allen Marr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Maintaining distributed levee systems has been an increased concern in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. Ultimately, civil engineers strive to assess the health of these geotechnical systems; however, the variability of properties makes predictions of soil behavior extremely difficult, especially when soil models are not calibrated with field measurements. As climate change progresses in the form of continuous land subsidence and rising sea water level, weather-related extremes may also increase in their intensity and frequency. Coastal and waterfront zones are left especially susceptible. A remote sensing-based, i.e., satellite or airborne radar, health assessment of this spatially distributed system that can identify weak sections and impending failures can be a key to the sustainability of this infrastructure, helping prioritize maintenance and upgrade efforts. This paper presents the development of affordable sensing technologies, such as satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), for use in a new health assessment framework to monitor and manage systems of a flood-control infrastructure. Historic and newly acquired TerraSAR-X StripMap data over a 1500 km2 footprint in New Orleans have been utilized to monitor ground settlements from February 2009 to February 2012. Local measurements from GPS and ShapeAccelArrays (SAAs) are integrated with the satellite-based InSAR measurements into a smart network to monitor the response of flood-control levees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeo-Congress 2014 Technical Papers
Subtitle of host publicationGeo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability - Proceedings of the 2014 Congress
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages10
Edition234 GSP
ISBN (Print)9780784413272
StatePublished - 2014
Event2014 Congress on Geo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability, Geo-Congress 2014 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Feb 23 2014Feb 26 2014

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
Number234 GSP
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


Other2014 Congress on Geo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability, Geo-Congress 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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