Radar survey (RS) is a special type of space survey, in which the microwave range is used to obtain information — radiation with wavelengths from 1 cm to 1 m.

The main advantages of radar satellite images are that you can get radar images regardless of the weather and time of day: microwave radiation freely passes through the clouds and does not require daylight, as images in the visible and IR ranges.

Radar survey tasks

Initially, the tasks of radar survey were limited to studies of the ocean surface. Now the range of tasks of radar shooting has expanded, and radar shooting allows you to obtain data on millimeter displacements of objects on the earth's surface, track oil pollution and the ship's situation in the waters, as well as create digital terrain models (the well-known SRTM CMC is created on the basis of radar data processing).

Radar survey Processing

It is worth noting that the processing of the radar is quite a difficult task, because the radar image has an unusual image for the human eye in its raw form. Specialized software products are used for radar processing, and specialists should have the necessary experience in creating secondary products of radar space surveys. However, despite this, the advantages of radar make the use of radar shooting very popular.

Three degrees of radar data processing can be distinguished:

  • Complex Image (SLC) — information obtained by focusing the transmitter signal. The radar image at this level of radar processing includes two channels: an amplitude ("panchromatic") image in grayscale and an image of the signal phase, which is used to create digital terrain models and maps of the earth's surface displacements.

  • Geocoded snapshot. The radar image has a spatial reference in a certain coordinate system. Radar images at this level of radar processing are usually delivered in GeoTIFF format.

  • Orthotransformed image. High-quality radar image, without geometric distortion from the terrain. Radar satellite imagery at this level of radar processing is used to create cartographic materials and spatial analysis.

Using radar imagery

The tasks of radar survey are expanding every year. Innovative radar processing allows you to open up more and more new areas of use of radar shooting:
  • Create and update digital topographic maps. The features of radar shooting, which allow you to get radar images regardless of the weather, make it a real discovery for mapping areas of the Russian Far East and foreign countries, where snow interferes in winter, and in summer the rainy season and, accordingly, continuous cloud cover throughout the shooting season. The advantages of radar for cartography should also include a sufficiently high spatial resolution of radar images, which allow you to create and update maps up to a scale of 1:50 000.

  • Having information about the phases of the radar signal, you can create digital models of terrain and terrain by interferometric processing. They, in turn, can be used in many areas of society's life.

  • Multi-time radar images allow you to get information about the displacements of the earth's surface. This helps to detect depressions in the development of mineral deposits, deviations of infrastructure objects from the normal position and track landslide processes.

  • Radar survey of water surfaces allows you to detect oil spills. Because of the structure of the substance, they have a smoothed surface and a different reflectivity of radar images, unlike natural water. This makes it quite easy to identify an oil spill on a radar image.

  • Radar survey also makes it possible to find vessels that have a tracking signal disabled on purpose or as a result of an accident. The signal on the radar image is well reflected from metal surfaces and allows you to detect ships in automatic radar processing mode, even on medium-resolution radar images. It is also important that radar images can be obtained just an hour after shooting. This speed allows you to find the ship with greater accuracy to the relevant services.

  • The different reflectivity of the radar survey makes it possible to detect burning and deforestation in woodlands, as well as to monitor the condition of agricultural crops.

Advantages of radar survey

  • The ability to conduct radar surveys in any weather (including heavy clouds) and at any time of the day (including at night);

  • High degree of detail due to the high spatial resolution of the radar image;

  • A cost-effective alternative to GPS monitoring of offsets on the ground.

Product Users

  • Environmental and geological enterprises, as well as oil and gas industry enterprises, for which it is important to monitor the state of the infrastructure and the displacement of the earth's surface;
  • Ministry of Emergency Situations (monitoring of pollution, ship and ice conditions)
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