The worsening impacts of land reclamation assessed with Sentinel-1: The Rize (Turkey) test case

Esra Erten*, Cristian Rossi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Massive amounts of land are being reclaimed to build airports, new cities, ports, and highways. Hundreds of kilometers are added each year, as coastlines are extended further out to the sea. In this paper, this urbanization approach is monitored by Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) technique with Sentinel-1 SAR data. The study aims to explore this technology in order to support local authorities to detect and evaluate subtle terrain displacements. For this purpose, a large 3-years Sentinel-1 stack composed by 92 images acquired between 07/01/2015 to 27/01/2018 is employed and stacking techniques are chosen to assess ground motion. The test site of this study, Rize, Turkey, has been declared at high risk of collapse and radical solutions such as the relocation of the entire city in another area are been taken into consideration. A media fact-checking approach, i.e. evaluating national and international press releases on the test site, is considered for the paper and this work presents many findings in different areas of the city. For instance, alerts are confirmed by inspecting several buildings reported by the press. Critical infrastructures are monitored as well. Portions of the harbor show high displacement rates, up to 1 cm/year, proving reported warnings. Rural villages belonging to the same municipality are also investigated and a mountainous village affected by landslide is considered in the study. Sentinel-1 is demonstrated to be a suitable system to detect and monitor small changes or buildings and infrastructures for these scenarios. These changes may be highly indicative of imminent damage which can lead to the loss of the structural integrity and subsequent failure of the structure in the long-term. In Rize, only a few known motion-critical structures are monitored daily with in-situ technologies. SAR interferometry can assist to save expensive inspection and monitoring services, especially in highly critical cases such as the one studied in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors


This work has been supported by the Scientific Research Projects Coordination of Istanbul Technical University under Project MUA-2017-40799. Authors would like to thank Terri Freemantle, Satellite Applications Catapult, UK, for processing and discussions and 4Maps Information Technologies, Turkey, for providing with in-situ information.

FundersFunder number
Istanbul Teknik ÜniversitesiMUA-2017-40799


    • Land reclamation
    • Landfill
    • Landslides
    • Persistent Scatterer Interferometry
    • Seawalls
    • Sentinel-1
    • Subsidence


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