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Proceedings Paper

An airborne interferometric SAR system for high-performance 3D mapping
Author(s): Martin Lange; Paul Gill
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Paper Abstract

With a vertical accuracy better than 1 m and collection rates up to 7000 km2/h, airborne interferometric synthetic aperture radars (InSAR) bridge the gap between space borne radar sensors and airborne optical LIDARs. This paper presents the latest generation of X-band InSAR sensors, developed by Intermap TechnologiesTM, which are operated on our four aircrafts. The sensors collect data for the NEXTMap(R) program - a digital elevation model (DEM) with 1 m vertical accuracy for the contiguous U.S., Hawaii, and most of Western Europe. For a successful operation, challenges like reduction of multipath reflections, very high interferometric phase stability, and a precise system calibration had to be mastered. Recent advances in sensor design, comprehensive system automation and diagnostics have increased the sensor reliability to a level where no radar operator is required onboard. Advanced flight planning significantly improved aircraft utilization and acquisition throughput, while reducing operational costs. Highly efficient data acquisition with straight flight lines up to 1200 km is daily routine meanwhile. The collected data pass though our automated processing cluster and finally are edited to our terrain model products. Extensive and rigorous quality control at every step of the workflow are key to maintain stable vertical accuracies of 1 m and horizontal accuracies of 2 m for our 3D maps. The combination of technical and operational advances presented in this paper enabled Intermap to survey two continents, producing 11 million km2 of uniform and accurate 3D terrain data.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 April 2009
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7308, Radar Sensor Technology XIII, 730806 (29 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.818467
Show Author Affiliations
Martin Lange, Intermap Technologies GmbH (Germany)
Paul Gill, Intermap Technologies Corp. (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7308:
Radar Sensor Technology XIII
Kenneth I. Ranney; Armin W. Doerry, Editor(s)

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