On the value of corner reflectors and surface models in InSAR precise point positioning

Mengshi Yang, Paco Lopez Dekker, Prabu Dheenathayalan, Mingsheng Liao, Ramon Hanssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


To correctly interpret the estimated displacements in InSAR point clouds, especially in the built environment, these need to be linked to real-world structures. This requires the accurate and precise 3D positioning of each point. Artificial ground control points (GCPs), such as corner reflectors, serve this purpose, but since they require efforts and resources, there is a need for criteria to assess their usefulness. Here we evaluate the value and necessity of using GCPs for different scenarios, concerning the required efforts, and compare this to alternatives such as digital surface models (DSM) and advanced (geo) physical corrections. We consider single-epoch as well as multi-epoch GCP deployment, reflect on the number of GCPs required in relation to the number of SAR data acquisitions, and compare this with digital surface models of different quality levels. Analyzing the geolocation performance using TerraSAR-X and Sentinel-1 data, we evaluate the pros and cons of various deployment options and show that the multi-epoch deployment of a GCP yields optimal geolocalization results in terms of precision, accuracy, and reliability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Corner reflector
  • Geolocalization
  • Persistent scatterer
  • SAR
  • Synthetic aperture radar interferometry


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