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Radar backscatter and coherence information supporting high quality urban mapping

Peter Fischer(1) and Zbigniew Perski(2)

(1) University of Applied Sciences Trier, P.O.B. 13 80, 55761 Birkenfeld, Germany
(2) University of Silesia, Bedzinska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland


The potential of a synergetic use of different data sources for a high quality mapping of urban features is described in this paper. In the urban application domain, beside the different EO-sensors and products there are a lot of high resolution and high quality GIS- and digital map databases available (e.g. ATKIS in Germany), provided by public authorities but also by private industry. Fusing this ground-based data with remotely sensed information is resulting in high quality thematic datasets.

Using ATKIS-, TERRA-ASTER- and ERS-SAR / ENVISAT-ASAR data as input, in the research described we implemented a GIS-based expert system to derive in a first step the degree of sealing in the regions of interest (ROI). Joining the reclassified ATKIS-data with a vegetation index, a thermal index, the backscatter- and the coherence information, the output of the processing chain is a vector data layer dividing the ROI in ten classes of degree of sealing. Adding the SAR-/ASAR derived backscatter and coherence data into the spatial analysis results in a significant improvement of the classification process. Because of it's sensitivity to built-up areas, especially the coherence information allows a fine tuning of the classification process.

Once the output it processed, the regional government is using the vectorized information as base data to monitor urban sprawl but also for the individual taxation of water price due to a new law.


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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