Ten Years of Experience with Scientific TerraSAR-X Data Utilization

Achim Roth, Ursula Marschalk, Karina Winkler, Birgit Schättler, Martin Huber, Isabel Georg, Claudia Künzer, Stefan Dech
2018 Remote Sensing  
This paper presents the first comprehensive review on the scientific utilization of earth observation data provided by the German TerraSAR-X mission. It considers the different application fields and technical capabilities to identify the key applications and the preferred technical capabilities of this high-resolution SAR satellite system from a scientific point of view. The TerraSAR-X mission is conducted in a close cooperation with industry. Over the past decade, scientists have gained
more » ... s have gained access to data through a proposal submission and evaluation process. For this review, we have considered 1636 data utilization proposals and analyzed 2850 publications. In general, TerraSAR-X data is used in a wide range of geoscientific research areas comprising anthroposphere, biosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. Methodological and technical research is a cross-cutting issue that supports all geoscientific fields. Most of the proposals address research questions concerning the geosphere, whereas the majority of the publications focused on research regarding "methods and techniques". All geoscientific fields involve systematic observations for the establishment of time series in support of monitoring activities. High-resolution SAR data are mainly used for the determination and investigation of surface movements, where SAR interferometry in its different variants is the predominant technology. However, feature tracking techniques also benefit from the high spatial resolution. Researchers make use of polarimetric SAR capabilities, although they are not a key feature of the TerraSAR-X system. The StripMap mode with three meter spatial resolution is the preferred SAR imaging mode, accounting for 60 percent of all scientific data acquisitions. The Spotlight modes with the highest spatial resolution of less than one meter are requested by only approximately 30 percent of the newly acquired TerraSAR-X data.
doi:10.3390/rs10081170 fatcat:xam676nszjbrlcaz3gv3nkjcau