High-Temporal-Resolution Rock Slope Monitoring Using Terrestrial Structure-from-Motion Photogrammetry in an Application with Spatial Resolution Limitations

Bradford Butcher, Gabriel Walton, Ryan Kromer, Edgard Gonzales, Javier Ticona, Armando Minaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on high-temporal-resolution rock slope monitoring has tended to focus on scenarios where spatial resolution is also high. Accordingly, there is a lack of understanding of the implications for rock slope monitoring results in cases with high temporal resolution but low spatial resolution, which is the focus of this study. This study uses automatically captured photos taken at a daily frequency by five fixed-base cameras in conjunction with multi-epoch Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetric processing techniques to evaluate changes in a rock slope in Majes, Arequipa, Peru. The results of the monitoring campaign demonstrate that there are potential issues with the common notion that higher frequency change detection is always superior. For lower spatial resolutions or when only large changes are of concern, using a high-frequency monitoring method may cause small volume changes that eventually aggrade into larger areas of change to be missed, whereas most of the total volume change would be captured with lower-frequency monitoring intervals. In this study, daily change detection and volume calculation resulted in a cumulative rockfall volume of 4300 m3 over about 14 months, while change detection and volume calculation between dates at the start and end of the 14-month period resulted in a total rockfall volume of 12,300 m3. High-frequency monitoring is still the most accurate approach for evaluating slope evolution from a rockfall frequency and size distribution perspective, and it allows for the detection of short accelerations and pre-failure deformations, but longer-term comparison intervals may be required in cases where spatial resolution is low relative to temporal resolution to more accurately reflect the total volume change of a given rock slope over a long period of time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 by the authors.


  • change detection
  • monitoring
  • Multi-Epoch and Multi-Imagery (MEMI)
  • photogrammetry
  • rock slope
  • rockfall
  • Structure-from-Motion


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