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International Journal of Geophysics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 618609, 19 pages
Research Article

Rapid Mapping and Deformation Analysis over Cultural Heritage and Rural Sites Based on Persistent Scatterer Interferometry

1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Florence, Via G. La Pira 4, 50121 Florence, Italy
2British Geological Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Nicker Hill, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK

Received 23 May 2012; Accepted 3 July 2012

Academic Editor: Francesco Soldovieri

Copyright © 2012 D. Tapete and F. Cigna. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We propose an easy-to-use procedure of “PSI-based rapid mapping and deformation analysis,” to effectively exploit Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) for multispatial/temporal hazard assessment of cultural heritage and rural sites, update the condition report at the scale of entire site and single building, and address the conservation strategies. Advantages and drawbacks of the methodology are critically discussed based on feasibility tests performed over Pitigliano and Bivigliano, respectively, located in Southern and Northern Tuscany, Italy, and representative of hilltop historic towns and countryside settlements chronically affected by natural hazards. We radar-interpreted ERS-1/2 (1992–2000) and ENVISAT (2003–2010) datasets, already processed, respectively with the Permanent Scatterers (PSs) and Persistent Scatterers Pairs (PSPs) techniques, and assigned the levels of conservation criticality for both the sites. The PSI analysis allowed the zoning of the most unstable sectors of Pitigliano and showed a good agreement with the most updated hazard assessment of the cliff. The reconstruction of past/recent deformation patterns over Bivigliano confirmed the criticality for the Church of San Romolo, supporting the hypothesis of a correlation with local landslide phenomena, as also perceived from the annual motions observed over the entire site, where several landslide bodies are mapped.