Geodetic SAR Tomography

Xiao Xiang Zhu, Sina Montazeri, Christoph Gisinger, Ramon F. Hanssen, Richard Bamler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)
217 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we propose a framework referred to as 'geodetic synthetic aperture radar (SAR) tomography' that fuses the SAR imaging geodesy and tomographic SAR inversion (TomoSAR) approaches to obtain absolute 3-D positions of a large amount of natural scatterers. The methodology is applied on four very high resolution TerraSAR-X spotlight image stacks acquired over the city of Berlin. Since all the TomoSAR estimates are relative to the same reference point object whose absolute 3-D positions are retrieved by means of stereo SAR, the point clouds reconstructed using data acquired from different viewing angles can be geodetically fused. To assess the accuracy of the position estimates, the resulting absolute shadow-free 3-D TomoSAR point clouds are compared with a digital surface model obtained by airborne LiDAR. It is demonstrated that an absolute positioning accuracy of around 20 cm and a meter-order relative positioning accuracy can be achieved by the proposed framework using TerraSAR-X data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7167676
Pages (from-to)18-35
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Absolute positioning
  • geodetic SAR tomography
  • geodetical fusion
  • SAR geodesy
  • SAR tomography
  • stereo SAR
  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
  • TerraSAR-X


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