In this episode, we talk to L. Sebastian Bryson, Ph.D., P.E., D. GE, F.ASCE, the Hardin-Drnevich-Huang Professor of Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering with a joint appointment in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Kentucky, as well as the current Department Chair for the Department of Civil Engineering. Dr. Bryson shares insights on utilizing satellite data to assess and predict landslides and also discusses some of the challenges and limitations encountered when utilizing satellite data for landslide assessment and prediction.
***You can view the video version of this episode here.***
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Sebastian:
- Could you explain geo-hazard assessments and their relation to your current research on landslides?
- How are satellite data and remote sensing techniques utilized for assessing and predicting landslides, and could you provide examples and the types of data collected and analyzed in this field?
- How do you analyze satellite data to identify specific regions or communities?
- What are the primary benefits of utilizing satellite data in landslide assessment as opposed to conventional methods?
- Could you provide an overview of your current research projects focused on landslide geohazard assessment and prediction, highlighting their key objectives and potential implications?
- Can you please explain the deformation-based design methodology in geotechnical engineering and discuss its significance in the field?
- What challenges and limitations have you faced in utilizing satellite data for landslide assessments and prediction, and how do you plan to tackle them in your research?
- What are some other geotechnical or geohazard applications for satellite data, besides landslides, such as monitoring cars and surface depressions, and are there any other potential uses for this technology?
- How have your recognitions as a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and as a certified Diplomate Geotechnical Engineer (DE) by the Academy of Geo Professionals enhanced your work and research in geotechnical engineering?
- What advice would you offer to students or aspiring researchers interested in pursuing a career in geotechnical engineering, specifically in utilizing satellite data for specialized Geo hazard assessment?
- Could you provide any additional resources or references for listeners interested in learning more about utilizing satellite data for land-side assessments and predictions?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About How Satellite Data Is Being Used to Save Lives From Landslides
- Geo hazards, including earthquakes, sinkholes, landslides, and mudslides, fall into the category of geohazards. Assessments involve evaluating the current stability and extent of these hazards, while prediction aims to forecast landslides and potentially expand to sinkholes using satellite data. My research focuses on landslide hazard assessment and prediction for understanding causes and predicting occurrences.
- Satellite data on ground moisture, surface temperature, and atmospheric pressure can be used to analyze conditions before, during, and after landslides, enabling the prediction of future events by integrating these variables into stability models that relate shear strength variations to moisture content and factor of safety.
- To utilize satellite data effectively for site analysis requires downsampling the coarse resolution data to a finer scale and then using techniques like machine learning to propagate surface-based measurements, such as moisture and temperature, down to the subsurface level for accurate stability testing of specific features like hill slopes.
- To conduct site-level analysis and evaluate factors such as slope stability at depths of 3 meters, the satellite data, initially acquired with a resolution of 36 by 36-kilometer pixels, must be downscaled to a more precise 0.5 by 0.5-kilometer pixel size using machine learning techniques, facilitating the projection of surface readings to subsurface levels.
- One key advantage of using satellite data for landslide assessment is its ability to provide site-specific information by incorporating soil parameters and characteristics, enabling spatial and temporal analysis, which traditional methods lack.
- This NASA-funded project focuses on downscaled satellite data calibration, refining stability models, incorporating various factors for landslide prediction, utilizing machine learning to forecast future landslides based on soil moisture, and aiming to visualize a 5-day forecast of high-risk landslide areas.
- The research focuses on a deformation-based design methodology for deep excavations and earth retention systems, departing from traditional limit equilibrium methods. By considering the inward deformation of walls and the consequent deformation of soil and foundations, the goal is to minimize damage to infrastructure. The approach involves designing a system that protects surrounding infrastructure by limiting deformations, and ensuring strength and stability while avoiding excessive damage.
- The primary challenges in utilizing satellite data for landslide assessments and prediction involve calibration and downscaling, requiring the implementation of machine learning techniques to upscale and correlate data, as well as establishing partnerships with state agencies, like the Kentucky Geological Survey, to develop ground stations for accurate calibration at a local scale.
- Sinkholes have shown a correlation with factors like moisture content and remote sensing data, highlighting the importance of surface conditions, while there is potential for investigating the relationship between earthquakes and parameters like moisture, temperature, barometric pressure, and gravity.
- Receiving recognitions such as being a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and a certified Diplomate Geotechnical Engineer (DE) by the Academy of Geo Professionals provides increased credibility and confidence in the field of geotechnical engineering, benefiting professional discussions, public forums, and academic administrative pursuits.
- For students and aspiring researchers interested in geotechnical engineering and utilizing satellite data for specialized Geo hazard assessment, it is important to broaden their perspective beyond traditional practices and explore emerging areas like climate-driven hazards, bio geotechnics, and innovative applications for celestial bodies, as these advancements present exciting opportunities and shape the future of the field.
- If you’re interested in using satellite data for geotechnical phenomena, the first step is to familiarize yourself with satellite data and its applications, which can be done through resources like NASA’s website. The Google Earth Engine offers a valuable platform to explore and analyze various satellite data sets, such as Landsat data and soil moisture active and passive (SMAP) data, without any licensing requirements or fees.
More Details in This Episode…
About the Guest: L. Sebastian Bryson, Ph.D., P.E., D. GE, F.ASCE
Dr. L. Sebastian Bryson is the current Hardin-Drnevich-Huang Professor of Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering with a joint appointment in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Bryson is also the current Department Chair for the Department of Civil Engineering. Dr. Bryson’s research interest focuses on applied geotechnics and includes field instrumentation and monitoring of constructed facilities, the in-situ response of earth structures, performance prediction of supported excavations, and in-situ and laboratory testing of soils. Current research projects include landslide geohazard assessment and prediction, deformation-based design methodology, and the multi-hazard response of infrastructure systems. Dr Bryson is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Dr. Bryson is also certified as a Diplomate Geotechnical Engineer (D.GE) by the Academy of Geo-Professionals (AGP) of ASCE in recognition of his specialized knowledge and skills, professional ethics, commitment to lifelong learning, and continued professional development in the field of geotechnical engineering. Dr. Bryson received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University,
About the Host: Jared M. Green, PE, D.GE, F.ASCE
Jared, originally from southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering in 2001 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He later went on to attain his M.S. in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical Focus) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Campaign, in 2002. In 2003, he began working in the New York City office of Langan. He has since become a Principal / Vice President and is one of the owners of this international land development engineering consulting firm. After 15 years at Langan, Jared moved to the Philadelphia office and is one of the geotechnical practice leaders in that office.
Jared is a consultant and team leader who also enjoys mentoring young engineers and first-generation college students. He has been instrumental in increasing the number of pre-college students who are interested in STEAM majors and fields. He strives to make complex engineering topics relatable and understandable to people new to the field and to people who are completely unfamiliar with engineering. Jared and his family currently reside in Flemington, New Jersey. He and his wife have three energetic, inquisitive, and awesome children. You can connect with Jared here.
University of Kentucky
Kentucky Geological Survey
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Academy of Geo-Professionals
Google Earth Engine
Connect with L. Sebastian Bryson, Ph.D., P.E., D. GE, F.ASCE, on LinkedIn
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To your success,
Jared M. Green, PE, D.GE, F.ASCE
Host of The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast