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Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)—its past, present and future

Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
By: , and 

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Abstract

Very simply, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) involves the use of two or more synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images of the same area to extract landscape topography and its deformation patterns. A SAR system transmits electromagnetic waves at a wavelength that can range from a few millimeters to tens of centimeters and therefore can operate during day and night under all-weather conditions. Using SAR processing technique (Curlander and McDonough, 1991), both the intensity and phase of the reflected (or backscattered) radar signal of each ground resolution element (a few meters to tens of meters) can be calculated in the form of a complex-valued SAR image that represents the reflectivity of the ground surface. The amplitude or intensity of the SAR image is determined primarily by terrain slope, surface roughness, and dielectric constants, whereas the phase of the SAR image is determined primarily by the distance between the satellite antenna and the ground targets. InSAR imaging utilizes the interaction of electromagnetic waves, referred to as interference, to measure precise distances between the satellite antenna and ground resolution elements to derive landscape topography and its subtle change in elevation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)—its past, present and future
Series title Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
Volume 73
Issue 3
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher ASPRS
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Volcano Hazards Program
Description 5 p.
First page 217
Last page 221
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N