Permafrost is a key characteristic of the Arctic environment and is sensitive to climate warming. An increase in air temperatures, which is pronounced in the Arctic regions, leads to warming and degradation of frozen soils. Increasing permafrost temperatures, in turn, lead to changes in geotechnical parameters, which creates problems for buildings and infrastructure. In addition, a complex of hazardous exogenous processes (first of all, cryogenic) that threaten the stability of the infrastructure are becoming more active.
Linear objects (roads, pipelines, runways, airfields, etc.) are most vulnerable to deformation. Due to the large extent of such objects, it is extremely difficult to completely avoid building on areas with unfavourable geocryological conditions. Additionaly, the design and construction of infrastructure can activate dangerous cryogenic processes.
It is necessary to study and monitor deformations occurring at existing facilities to minimize the detrimental effects of cryogenic processes. The collected data can be used for modelling and future investigations. But the large extent and area of linear infrastructure limits the use of classical geodetic methods and requires new approaches.
We used a RIEGL VZ-1000 laser scanner to examine linear infrastructure in Longyearbyen. This device has a high measurement accuracy (5-8 mm) and allows for 3D point clouds to be obtained at a distance of 800 m or more. The average time required to survey from one point is from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the selected scanning parameters. Scanning an object returns a “cloud” of millions of points, oriented in space relative to each other, which greatly improves the precision of measurements. This method will make it possible to effectively monitoring of the state of transport systems and detect deformations at early stages.