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Spotlight mode SAR stereo technique for height computation

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1 Author(s)
Desai, M.D. ; Div. of Eng., Texas Univ., San Antonio, TX, USA

This paper examines the feasibility of extracting three-dimensional (3-D) or topographic information in spotlight mode stereo synthetic aperture radar (SAR). A display of a SAR (intensity) image has two axes: range and cross-range. Elevated scatterers appear closer in range; this phenomenon is called radar image layover. How the height of each scatterer can be computed from the difference in its layover between two images is investigated. This is analogous to computing height from disparity distance (triangulation) in optical stereo. The same procedure can be applied on pixel by pixel basis for terrain elevation mapping. A general expression is derived for the accuracy of the height estimate as a function of the range resolution and the angular difference between the image planes. Accuracy increases as the angle between the image planes increases, but the bright scatterers in one image tend to fade in the other image. This limited angular persistence of radar scatterers is also discussed. Trajectories for data collection are examined that provide near-optimal height estimates while eliminating the scatterer persistency problem

Published in:

Image Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 10 )