Human induced earth movement

Get support in choosing a master’s

The impact of human activities on our environments increases dramatically. Think, for example, of the gas exploitation in the northeast of the Netherlands. This area has extensive subsurface gas fields. Besides economic benefits for the region and the Netherlands as a whole, the gas exploitation also results in induced subsidence and earthquakes, which have caused considerable damage at several locations in the region. This has fuelled an ongoing public and political debate about the future of gas exploitation in the area and the compensation of house owners for damaged property. In this case study, you will explore these types of problems caused by human-induced earth movements.


“My team and I explored the issue of gas extraction in the northeast of the Netherlands from the perspective of a municipality that was impacted by the earthquakes. What struck us was the number of stakeholders that were involved. Several meetings with the municipality showed us the complexity of this problem as so many different parties had a say in this matter. For example, the process of damage claims was handled by a different organisation than the process of reinforcement. It makes the handling procedures complex, time-consuming and cost-inefficient. Imagine repairing damage to your house after being compensated, and then hearing that it needs to be torn down anyway...

For the municipality, it was hard to guide citizens in this procedure, moreover because the dissatisfaction and distrust among them grew. Our team focused on the development of an Integrative Information Platform and Citizen Contact Centre, which includes joint information about the requests of citizens, accessible to multiple parties. This way, not only the alignment between the different organisations would be improved by knowing each other’s plans and budgets, but citizens would also have more clarity about the plans and progress of reinforcement procedures and damage claims handling.”


“The focus of our team was on the perspective of the residents of the earthquake area. To gain insights into their situation, we held several interviews with citizens whose houses were actually damaged as a result of the earthquakes. Hearing their personal – and emotional – stories made it very real. We realised that the earthquakes and especially the aftermath caused them a lot of stress and health problems. The main problem that needed fixing for them, was the complicated damage assessment process.

They’ve gone through frustration due to insufficient, delayed and sometimes lacking compensation for damages to their houses. Moreover, their dissatisfaction and frustration grew as they had a feeling that the government did not trust them. They felt like they were treated as frauds, which in turn led to feelings of distrust towards the government as well.

My team and I focused on remote sensing in order to improve the damage assessment process. By using surface deformation maps and earthquake intensity maps, you can immediately verify whether a person lives in an area that was affected by the earthquakes. This information could then support damage claims and would speed up the process because there is less discussion needed on the causes of damages. This information could then be added to a database, that should be accessible to multiple parties in order to make the collaboration more efficient. The best part is that this can be implemented in a platform that already exists.”

Chat offline (info)
To use this functionality you first need to:
Accept cookies