SBIR Phase I: One pass dike and levee characterization system

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Sky Research, Inc.
445 Dead Indian Memorial Rd., Ashland, OR, 97520-9706
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Roelof Versteeg
(650) 521-2587
Business Contact:
Roelof Versteeg
(650) 521-2587
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a dike and levee characterization system. Hurricane Katrina and Rita and the flooding and breaching of levees in the Midwest in 2008 clearly demonstrated the impact of levee failures in the US, and the need for proactive levee assessment and repair. Current approaches to dike and levee assessments are expensive, invasive and lengthy and generally only provide sparse data. The system which will be developed under this SBIR will provide actionable information in near real time on the values of, and changes in, subsurface and surface properties of dikes and levees. This will be done by semi autonomously collecting and processing spatially and temporally coincident multi sensor datasets. Data processing will be done through joint inversion and automated interpretation of multi sensor datasets. Information will be made available to stakeholders in dikes and levees through a web interface, and will allow stakeholders to make informed and data based decisions on the need for corrective actions based on property values and changes. This system should substantially improve dike and levee assessment practices. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be the potential to provide dike and levee characterization with improved quality and for substantially lower costs than current approaches, and the associated confidence in levee performance. In the US and in other countries such as the Netherlands, the UK, China and Japan levees and dikes collectively protect tens of millions of lives and trillions of dollars' worth of property. Currently dike and levee assessment costs between $50,000 and $300,000 per mile. As the US levee inventory is over 100,000 miles, the costs to assess these dikes and levees pose significant hardship for the federal government, states and communities, and budget constraints sometime result in deferred assessments with potential deadly and expensive consequences. The system which will be developed here will provide in a single pass high quality, affordable (approximately $3000/mile), readily accessible comprehensive information on dike and levee subsurface and surface properties in near real time. This will allow stakeholders to make informed decisions on dike quality and the need for, and location of any corrective actions. The resulting science and data based knowledge about levee strength will provide broad benefits to society.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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