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The aim of this study is to use airborne laser scanning (ALS) data to simulate synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) elevation data [digital elevation model (DEM)] from the spatial distribution of scatterers. A Shuttle Radar Topography Mission X-band DEM data set and an ALS data set from a spruce-dominated forest area are used. A 3-D grid of voxels is made from the spatial distribution of ALS first echoes. The slant angle penetration rate of the SAR microwaves (PSAR) is simulated to be a function of the vertical ALS penetration rate (PALS), i.e., PSAR = PALS4. The InSAR DEM and heights above the ground are fairly well reproduced by the simulator. A total least squares regression model between the simulated and measured InSAR DEMs has an R2 value of 0.99 and a slope of 1 : 1. By subtracting the ALS-based terrain heights (digital terrain model), we obtained InSAR heights, which were reproduced with an R2 value of 0.78, a slope of 0.96, and a root-mean-square error of 2.3 m. With the simulator, it was demonstrated how a disturbance event would affect the InSAR height. Unfortunately, the relationship was curvilinear and concave, which means that the method is not very sensitive to weak disturbances. This might be partly overcome by using a more vertical incidence angle of the SAR microwaves. The simulator might be used for validation or ground truthing of the InSAR data, as well as gaining understanding of how vegetation changes affect the InSAR data.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:48 , Issue: 9 )
Date of Publication: Sept. 2010