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Influence of Atmospheric Path Delay on the Absolute Geolocation Accuracy of TerraSAR-X High-Resolution Products

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4 Author(s)
Schubert, A. ; Remote Sensing Labs., Univ. of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland ; Jehle, M. ; Small, D. ; Meier, E.

Two coupled investigations of TerraSAR-X (TSX) high-resolution data are described in this paper: geometric validation, and estimation of the tropospheric path delay using measurements of corner reflectors (CRs) placed at different altitudes but nearly identical ranges. The CRs were placed within Alpine and valley sites in Switzerland, where terrain diversity provides ideal territory for geometric validation studies. Geometric validation was conducted using slant-range complex products from the spotlight and stripmap (SM) modes in ascending and descending configurations. Based on the delivered product annotations, the CR image positions were predicted, and these predictions were compared to their measured image positions. To isolate path delays caused by the atmosphere, six TSX SM scenes ( ~ 35 x 50 km) were examined containing four identical CRs with the same ranges and an altitude difference of ~ 3000 m. The CR arrangement made it possible to verify the annotated TSX atmospheric path delay by comparing the predicted slant range with the slant range obtained by measuring the reflector image coordinates. Range differences between the high- and low-altitude reflectors helped to quantify small variations in the path delay. Both SM and spotlight TSX products were verified to meet the specified accuracy requirements, even for scenes with extreme terrain variations, in spite of the simplicity of the atmospheric model currently integrated into the processor. Small potential improvements of the geolocation accuracy through the implementation of more comprehensive atmospheric modeling were demonstrated.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 2 )