Leeds-based SatSense uses satellite data to protect houses, mines and railway lines

A YORKSHIRE company which uses satellite data to detect subsidence has gained investment to help it grow.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 1:36 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 1:38 pm
SatSense CEO Matthew Bray

SatSense has secured £1.5m from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, and the Government’s Future Fund.

Leeds-based SatSense, which employs seven staff, is about to launch a new online platform which will give engineers and other professionals instant access to up-to-date information on ground movements at sites throughout the UK.

The latest investment is expected to create six jobs over the next year. SatSense was launched in 2018 by Professors Tim Wright and Andy Hooper from the University of Leeds.

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Subsidence data is widely used in conveyancing, mortgage lending and insurance to identify properties at risk of subsidence. SatSense has already secured a contract with environmental search provider Groundsure, which is now using the data in its reports.

The platform can also monitor changing ground conditions and provide early warnings, for example where an embankment is showing signs of movement, or a reservoir or railway line may be under threat.

It can help utility companies or asset managers to ensure the safety of infrastructure such as pipelines, power plants, mines and road and rail networks, as well as assess the stability of sites earmarked for future development.

Matthew Bray, SatSense's CEO, said: “The SatSense founders have taken technology that was once only available to governments and research institutes and made it accessible for day to day business use.

"Our system is the only one that offers instant access to highly accurate, near real-time data over huge areas. The service will become all the more important given the impact of climate change. As hotter summers and wetter winters exacerbate seasonal changes in ground conditions, it will allow us to identify areas worst affected and provide warnings on infrastructure or properties at risk.”

Will Clark, Head of Equity at Mercia, said: “Subsidence is not only a costly problem for property owners, it is also a major hazard. Landslips, the failure of bridges or dams and even sinkholes can result in widespread disruption and loss of life. SatSense’s technology marks a step change in our ability to monitor sites remotely and detect changes at an early stage. We believe it has potential for worldwide use to help reduce costs and prevent future disasters.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.