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The paper presents an approach for roads detection based on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images and road databases. The vectors provided by the database are refined using active contours (snakes). In this framework, we firstly develop a restoration filter based on the frost filter achieving an acceptable compromise between speckle elimination and lines preserving. This is followed by a line plausibility calculation step which is used to deform the snake from its initial location toward the final solution. The snake is reformulated using finite elements method. The setting of the snake parameters is not an obvious problem especially when they are tuned by trial-and-error process. We propose a new automatic computational rule for the snake parameters. Our approach is validated by a series of tests on synthetic and SAR images.