Abstract

Numerous exploratory wellsites were established in Canada's Arctic during the second half of the 20th century and were subsequently closed. Due to the logistic challenges of monitoring such sites through conventional approaches, the operator engaged the service provider to conduct a study using remote sensing techniques and high-resolution optical imagery on several closed wellsites (7 sites on-shore) in the Mackenzie River Delta of Northwest Territories, Canada. The project focused on demonstrating the ability to track changes in site conditions (retrospectively), distinguishing cyclic from progressive changes, and evaluating the potential cost for routine site monitoring at different intervals. Available sources of optical imagery were used; from 1 m IKONOS to 0.5 m WorldView-2, with dates ranging from 2002 through 2014. The optical analysis utilized the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) ratio of near infrared and red bands to provide an index of biomass density. A variety of processing techniques and analyses were performed that focused on four major areas: relative water levels, vegetation health, condition of infrastructure, and the proximity of nearby receptors. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from RADARSAT-2 was also used successfully to detect pilings that were not visible in the optical imagery.

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