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Three-dimensional multipass SAR focusing: experiments with long-term spaceborne data

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3 Author(s)
Fornaro, G. ; Inst. per il Rilevamento Elettromagnetico dell''Ambiente, CNR, Napoli, Italy ; Lombardini, F. ; Serafino, F.

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry is a modern efficient technique that allows reconstructing the height profile of the observed scene. However, apart for the presence of critical nonlinear inversion steps, particularly crucial in abrupt topography scenarios, it does not allow one to separate different scattering mechanisms in the elevation (height) direction within the ground pixel. Overlay of scattering at different elevations in the same azimuth-range resolution cell can be due either to the penetration of the radiation below the surface or to perspective ambiguities caused by the side-looking geometry. Multibaseline three-dimensional (3-D) SAR focusing allows overcoming such a limitation and has thus raised great interest in the recent research. First results with real data have been only obtained in the laboratory and with airborne systems, or with limited time-span and spatial-coverage spaceborne data. This work presents a novel approach for the tomographic processing of European Remote Sensing satellite (ERS) real data for extended scenes and long time span. Besides facing problems common to the airborne case, such as the nonuniformly spaced passes, this processing requires tackling additional difficulties specific to the spaceborne case, in particular a space-varying phase calibration of the data due to atmospheric variations and possible scene deformations occurring for years-long temporal spans. First results are presented that confirm the capability of ERS multipass tomography to resolve multiple targets within the same azimuth-range cell and to map the 3-D scattering properties of the illuminated scene.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 4 )