The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-8
28 Nov 2014
 | 28 Nov 2014

Study of the Effects of Target Geometry on Synthetic Aperture Radar Images using Simulation Studies

K. Tummala, A. K. Jha, and S. Kumar

Keywords: SAR, Simulation, DEM, Radar, Satellite, Surface, Targets, RADARSAT

Abstract. Synthetic aperture radar technology has revolutionized earth observation with very high resolutions of below 5m, making it possible to distinguish individual urban features like buildings and even cars on the surface of the earth. But, the difficulty in interpretation of these images has hindered their use. The geometry of target objects and their orientation with respect to the SAR sensor contribute enormously to unexpected signatures on SAR images. Geometry of objects can cause single, double or multiple reflections which, in turn, affect the brightness value on the SAR images. Occlusions, shadow and layover effects are present in the SAR images as a result of orientation of target objects with respect to the incident microwaves. Simulation of SAR images is the best and easiest way to study and understand the anomalies. This paper discusses synthetic aperture radar image simulation, with the study of effect of target geometry as the main aim. Simulation algorithm has been developed in the time domain to provide greater modularity and to increase the ease of implementation. This algorithm takes into account the sensor and target characteristics, their locations with respect to the earth, 3-dimensional model of the target, sensor velocity, and SAR parameters. two methods have been discussed to obtain position and velocity vectors of SAR sensor – the first, from the metadata of real SAR image used to verify the simulation algorithm, and the second, from satellite orbital parameters. Using these inputs, the SAR image coordinates and backscatter coefficients for each point on the target are calculated. The backscatter coefficients at target points are calculated based on the local incidence angles using Muhleman's backscatter model. The present algorithm has been successfully implemented on radarsat-2 image of San Francisco bay area. Digital elevation models (DEMs) of the area under consideration are used as the 3d models of the target area. DEMs of different resolutions have been used to simulate SAR images in order to study how the target models affect the accuracy of simulation algorithm. The simulated images have been compared with radarsat-2 images to observe the efficiency of the simulation algorithm in accurately representing the locations and extents of different objects in the target area. The simulated algorithm implemented in this paper has given satisfactory results as the simulated images accurately show the different features present in the DEM of the target area.