• ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSOngoing
  • THEMATIC AREAInfrastructure & Smart Cities

Objectives of the service

Through an online platform designed for the transportation infrastructure sector (road & rail), Spotlite provides monitoring  ground and structural motion for stability assessment using satellite imagery. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) allows for sub-millimetric precision on a network-wide scale (including remote or inaccessible locations). As such, the system is able to detect unstable areas and trigger timely early-warnings, so that preventive measures can be adopted before catastrophic failures occur. These actionable insights can help infrastructure operators and managers to optimise maintenance strategies and budgets, lower operational costs and increase the overall safety of the operation, avoiding damages and losses. The platform also provides maintenance management, reporting and tasking tools, centralising maintenance planning and documentation. These are associated with a 3D Asset Information Management (AIM) system, integrating satellite data with live data feeds from local IoT (Internet of Things) sensors, allowing for a richer understanding and characterization of structural behaviours.

Users and their needs

Spotlite is designed for maintenance operators and infrastructure managers in the transportation industry (both for the road and the rail sectors). Operators and managers need:

  • Constant and updated information on the structural stability over the entire extension of their networks and assets. Ground and slope movements may trigger catastrophic failures, resulting in damages, losses, and interruptions of service.

  • When a critical risk is detected, users need an early-warning system to automatically issue alerts, so that the adequate preventive and corrective measures can be timely implemented.

  • Information on the evolution of structural stability and surface movements over time, to better assess risks, identify trends and predict occurrences.

  • Centralised platform to plan maintenance activities, aggregate documentation and generate reports.

The team is already working with important players in the target industry, such as Egis, and currently the solution has pilot applications in Portugal and Turkey. Other applications in Europe are being discussed.

Service/ system concept

Spotlite uses an online platform to deliver analytics and insights on surface movements, including ground subsidence or slope instability. This data is obtained by processing radar imagery from orbiting satellites, covering the entire transportation network. Spotlite not only provides a periodical and continuous monitoring of these geotechnical risks, but it is also able to provide historical information on these behaviours, using archive data, to identify trends over time. To complement this analysis, the system is able to integrate satellite and sensor data. Spotlite centralises in a single platform a comprehensive management toolset that includes early-warning, reporting, and tasking systems, as well as 3D digital environments for asset management and visualisation.


Space Added Value

Spotlite is a remote sensing risk monitoring solution, using Earth Observation (EO) satellites as its main data source. Ground and structural motion is measured using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, from radar sensors equipped on satellites orbiting the planet. The use of these satellites means that (unlike field sensors that can only provide data on very specific points of the infrastructure, and have high installation costs) the system is able to analyse the infrastructure network in its entirety. For the moment, Spotlite has been using the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission as its primary SAR data source.

Current Status

There is a first functional prototype of the online platform already available for pilot users to test the solution. The team has been showcasing the platform, while collecting feedback to determine user requirements, in multiple meetings and industry events held in different countries (including Portugal, Turkey or France), for audiences primarily composed of professionals of the target sector. Basic system architecture and user experience design are closed, and currently platform backend and frontend development optimizations, focusing particularly on handling large datasets, are being completed. Another focus is on unit testing, analysing individual software components, before moving into system integration activities and interoperability testing.
Spotlite has already won a number of distinctions, including the Altice ioT Challenge.

Status Date

Updated: 16 December 2022 - Created: 16 December 2022