SAR Tomography

Period of Performance: 07/31/2003 - 04/30/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Vexcel Corp.
1690 38th Street
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


The primary goal of the proposed research is to help advance the science and art of SAR tomography and, more generally, 3-D SAR imaging for downstream image exploitation. Vexcel Corporation proposes to delineate the current state-of-the-art in SAR tomography for 3-D imaging and subsequent exploitation. There have been a number of tomographic SAR examples described in the literature and elsewhere, however a complete description of the scenarios and applications possible (including the limitations) have not been presented or established. Vexcel proposes to investigate current practical and theoretical limitations and/or constraints to data collection and processing for useful 3-D SAR imaging and applications which include, but are not limited to, ATR, DTED mapping, detection/identification of man-made structures, and general 3-D geospatial information extraction from airborne or satellite collections or from combinations thereof. Novel approaches to data collection and processing will be explored. To the extent that the discovered constraints/limitations offer alternative solutions, Vexcel will propose possible alternatives to the conventional paradigm. Advanced signal processing concepts will be demonstrated with simulations and actual SAR data. Definitive experiments will be suggested for proof-of-concepts in follow-on research. The ability to collect and construct true three-dimensional radar data will have very broad application. On the civilian/commercial side, volumetric SAR systems may be used for example, to explore forest and vegetation health and status as well as to map urban areas more precisely and efficiently. Military applications of this technology include the development of more sensitive detection and recognition techniques, particularly when applied to detection within a volume such as in a forest canopy, or under the ground.