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Problems and Solutions for InSAR DEM Generation of Mountainous Terrain

Michael Eineder(1)

(1) DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82230 Wessling, Germany


The techniques to generate digital elevation models (DEM) from SAR interferometry have been demonstrated and refined to a quasi-operational status using data from the ERS tandem mission. With this experience and an improved single pass system concept, data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) acquired in 2000 have been used to produce a global DEM with unprecedented quality. However, under the extreme viewing conditions in mountainous terrain both ERS and SRTM suffer or even fail due to the radar specific problems that are commonly called layover and shadow.

The paper demonstrates and quantifies those limitations and shows ways to overcome them.

First, the problem is addressed in a simplified statistical way and the findings are verified using simulation and analysis with real data.

Second, several strategies are discussed to recover regions affected by SAR shadow and layover. The strategies discussed are: - Optimising the incidence angle - Combining ascending and descending orbits - Combining left and right looking SAR - An algorithm to use shadow in an individual interferogram

The paper aims to improve the understanding of the systems and the data currently available and to improve the concepts of future systems and missions.


Full paper

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry