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A Beginner's Guide to Interferometric SAR Concepts and Signal Processing [AESS Tutorial IV]

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1 Author(s)
Richards, M.A. ; Georgia Inst. of Technol., Atlanta

Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IFSAR, also abbreviated as InSAR) employs pairs of high resolution SAR images to generate high quality terrain elevation maps using phase interferometry methods. IFSAR provides an all-weather, day/night capability to generate measurements of terrain elevation on a dense grid of sample points with accuracies of ones of meters. Both spaceborne and airborne IFSAR systems are in use. In this paper we present a tutorial introduction to the concepts, techniques, and applications of IFSAR. After a brief introduction to digital elevation models (DEMs) and digital terrain elevation data (DTED), the fundamental IFSAR equation relating interferometric phase measurements to terrain elevation is derived from simple geometric considerations. The central section of the paper describes the major algorithmic steps required to form an IFSAR terrain map. Finally, variations of IFSAR for mapping terrain elevation or reflectivity changes are briefly described. A Web site at provides access to color versions of many of the IFSAR images included in this paper.

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Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 9 )