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A Review of Polarization Orientation Estimation from Polarimetric SAR Data

Dr. Jong-Sen Lee (1), Mr. Thomas L. Ainsworth(1) , and Mr. Dale L. Schuler(1)

(1) NRL, 4555 Overlook Ave. SW, Washington DC 20375-5351, United States


Jong-Sen Lee, Dale L. Schuler, and Thomas L. Ainsworth
Remote Sensing Division, Code 7263, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC 20375-5351

Corresponding Author: Jong-Sen Lee

In recent studies, Schuler et al. applied polarimetric SAR derived orientation angles to measure topography, and Lee et al. used orientation angles for polarimetric SAR data compensation. The results from this technique generally agree well with the DEM map. However, the accuracy is not as good as that from SAR interferometry. Accurate estimation of geophysical parameters, such as soil moisture, surface roughness, snow depth, etc requires polarimetric SAR data to be compensated for terrain slope variations. Many different techniques [1-4] for the estimation of orientation angles have been proposed. However, in these studies, inconsistency in the estimation of orientation angles was encountered in several areas, introducing noisy and erroneous results. To support these applications, it is important to accurately estimate shifts in orientation angles induced by the azimuth slope variations. However, in many cases, inconsistency in the estimation of orientation angle shifts was encountered in several areas, introducing noisy and erroneous results. In this paper, we review estimation algorithms and applications of polarization orientation angle induced by terrain slopes. We develop a unified analysis of estimation algorithms based on the circular polarization covariance matrix. The concept of reflection symmetry is used to explain the soundness of the circular polarization method, and to show problems associated with other algorithms. The relationship between several algorithms will also be explored from different viewpoints, and a theoretical model will be used to explain the results. The effect of radar frequency, scattering media, and polarimetric calibration will also be discussed. SIR-C, and JPL AIRSAR L- band and P-band polarimetric SAR images are used for demonstration.


[1] J.S. Lee, D.L. Schuler and T.L. Ainsworth, "Polarimetric SAR Data Compensation for Terrain Azimuth Slope Variation," IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 38, no. 5, 2153-2163, September 2000.

[2] D.L. Schuler, J.S. Lee, G. De Grandi, "Measurement of Topography using Polarimetric SAR Images," IEEE Trans. on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, no.5, pp. 1266- 1277, 1996.

[3] D.L. Schuler, J.S. Lee, T.L. Ainsworth, and M.R. Grunes, "Terrain Topography Measurement Using Multipass Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar Data," Radio Science, vol. 35, no.3, 813- 832, May-June 2000.

[4] E. Pottier, D.L. Schuler, J.S. Lee and T.L. Ainsworth, "Estimation of the Terrain Surface Azimuthal/Range Slopes Using Polarimetric Decomposition of POLSAR Data," Proceedings of IGARSS"99, 2212-2214, July 1999.


Full paper


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