Empirical study of the sensitivity of measuring horizontal displacements of point-like targets using C- and X-band SAR

Manuel Delgado Blasco, Prabu Dheenathayalan, Ling Chang, Pooja Mahapatra, Joana E. Martins, Ramon Hanssen

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractScientific


Detecting a point-like target when it is horizontally displaced is of paramount importance in target tracking and in measuring the motion of glaciers over short intervals of time. This paper performs an experimental study of the accuracy, precision and sensitivity of the horizontal motion detectable using SAR. Therefore point-like targets such as corner reflectors (CR) are moved horizontally in a controlled manner over short time intervals to reproduce the real target motion. Such CR movements are monitored using SAR and the results are compared with the ground truth to arrive at the target horizontal motion determination parameters. Towards this goal three CRs were installed each displaced by a few hundreds of metres in a farmland in Delft, The Netherlands. These corner reflectors are inclined for ERS-2 3-days ice-phase mission starting March 2011. Since the area does not exhibit horizontal motion, one of the CRs was moved horizontally stepwise in the order of a few centimeters to a few metres. At each step the CRs are imaged by SAR and also measured by campaign-style GPS (and with a few leveling campaigns) in order to provide the actual displacement in three dimensions. Then the motion is computed using SAR data and results are compared with the GPS measurements to validate the sensitivity of SAR in detection of motion of the targets. The experimental setup is such that the CRs are visible starting from March 2011 from both ascending and descending orbit TerraSAR-X satellite acquisitions over Delft. Hence similar parameters such as sensitivity, precision and accuracy of motion detection will be derived for X-band SAR as well. Further, in order to substantially verify the reliability of our computations, data from three different field experiments with stable CRs performed with ERS-1/2 in 1996, with ENVISAT from 2003 to 2007 and with ENVISAT from March 2010 to January 2011 in the areas of Groningen, Delft and Cabauw respectively were exploited. The outcome of our experiment will result in the empirical study of the sensitivity of motion detection of point-like targets in C- and X- bands. Also the influence of these parameters under varying imaging conditions such as change in Doppler and perpendicular baselines will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-239
JournalESA Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011


  • SAR
  • horizontal displacements
  • ERS
  • GPS
  • corner-reflector
  • TerraSAR-X
  • Envisat
  • sensitivity
  • point-target


Dive into the research topics of 'Empirical study of the sensitivity of measuring horizontal displacements of point-like targets using C- and X-band SAR'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this