Subsurface Diagnosis with Time-Lapse GPR Slices and Change Detection Algorithms

Tess Xiang Huan Luo, Wallace Wai Lok Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the capability of applying time-lapse ground penetrating radar (GPR) data to investigate the health condition of an urban subsurface. A workflow is proposed to semi-automatically extract changes from time-lapse GPR C-scans. The developed workflow consists of two main steps, in which the first step is image registration and intensity normalization. The workflow uses benchmark points on the ground to normalize the global intensity of time-lapse GPR C-scans. The second step classifies pixels into change or unchanged group. Two kinds of information are considered to construct two difference-maps: changes in the image intensity and the object structure. K-means clustering is responsible for extracting pixels that possess both intensity changes and object structure changes - where potential subsurface defects most likely occurred. The workflow was verified by a site experiment, and the area of excavation with pipe replacement was successfully identified. The performance of the proposed workflow was promising in excluding small and random scattering noise, which was the main challenge in a time-lapse GPR survey. The article serves as a prototype and demonstrates the feasibility and necessity of conducting temporal diagnosis on the subsurface structure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9018190
Pages (from-to)935-940
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Ground penetrating radar (GPR)
  • subsurface diagnosis
  • temporal change detection
  • time-lapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Atmospheric Science


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