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AMEC wins engineering technology award for earth-movement threats forecasting

TEMPE, ARIZ. — AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, has won an Engineering Excellence Grand Award from the Arizona chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for its development of a technology capable of identifying and predicting earth-movement threats.

The technology involves the in-house processing and interpretation of satellite-produced interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data to measure ground deformation and produce digital elevation models (DEMs). Such data can reveal engineering threats related to land subsidence, earth fissuring, sinkhole development, and slope movement.

By producing superior InSAR imagery much faster than anything available from commercial vendors, AMEC has provided the engineering industry with a tool that promises to revolutionize design and analysis in the fields of water resources, dams and levees, mining, and forestry.

In its awards announcement, ACEC said “this improved InSAR technology can detect very small elevation variations for areas as large as 100 square kilometers.” AMEC’s application of technology, according to ACEC, demonstrated each of the following:
•Original or innovative application of new or existing techniques
•Future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public
•Social, economic, and sustainable design considerations
•Exceeding client/owner needs

AMEC’s winning submittal noted that a clear representation of ground movement and prediction of future movement will help in the design of open pit mine operations, highways, dams, brine wells, and oil and gas operations. It added that generation of DEMs will refine areas of land subsidence to greater 3D detail than ever before. DEMs are used in many applications in engineering analysis, including topographic mapping, environmental modeling, land-cover change, hydrologic modeling, landslide hazard zonation, and forest canopy estimation.

The technology was developed by AMEC’s Tempe, Ariz., office with assistance from offices in Denver and Boulder, Colo.

For more information, visit www.amec.com.