New dimensions to monitor Earth prove ever-more useful

With interest growing in satellite radar techniques that provide 3D views of Earth's natural and urban environments, scientists from around the world recently gathered to review the latest findings and show how these methods can be used to monitor our changing world.

The technique of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) radar polarimetry allows polarised information to be measured in the signals backscattered from Earth to a satellite sensor. Polarimetric interferometry is achieved by using two polarimetric images, acquired from slightly different angles, to provide information on the 3D structure of the view.

With the opportunity to review the advances made in this field, more than 200 researchers from over 24 countries came together at the biennial POLinSAR workshop held at ESA's centre for Earth observation in Italy.

In response to growing interest in this field, ESA also hosted a week-long course just prior to the event so that PhD students could learn more about the theory and practical ways of using these data for new applications.

Looking to the future, results from some of ESA's airborne campaigns to support the development of the candidate Earth Explorer BIOMASS mission were presented.

These results show how the mission could, if selected as the seventh Earth Explorer, detect and map changes in forest biomass over time.

It was also demonstrated that, through tomography data acquisition and processing, a full 3D image of some forests could be achieved.

 

Published by: ESA

Full Article: http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMR4CY1LJG_index_0.html 

 

Publishing Date: 

09/02/2011
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