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Generation of digital elevation models from interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data is a well established technique. Achieving a high geometric fidelity calls for a calibration accounting for inaccurate navigation data and system parameters as well as system imperfections. Fully automated calibration techniques are preferable, especially for operational mapping. The author presents one such technique, called cross-calibration. Though developed for single-pass interferometry, it may be applicable to multi-pass interferometry, too. Cross-calibration requires stability during mapping, but not necessarily from map to map. It is based on natural distributed targets for which no a priori knowledge is needed. In particular, no DEM is required as in calibration techniques based on dedicated calibration scenes. To achieve absolute calibration, i.e. elimination of a constant elevation offset, a single ground control point is often needed. The paper presents the principles and mathematics of the cross-calibration technique and illustrates its successful application to EMISAR data.