Phase Estimation for Distributed Scatterers in InSAR Stacks Using Integer Least Squares Estimation

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In recent years, new algorithms have been proposed to retrieve maximum available information in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometric stacks with focus on distributed scatterers. The key step in these algorithms is to optimally estimate single-master (SM) wrapped phases for each pixel from all possible interferometric combinations, preserving useful information and filtering noise. In this paper, we propose a new method for SM-phase estimation based on the integer least squares principle. We model the SM-phase estimation problem in a linear form by introducing additional integer ambiguities and use a bootstrap estimator for joint estimation of SM-phases and the integer unknowns. In addition, a full error propagation scheme is introduced in order to evaluate the precision of the final SM-phase estimates. The main advantages of the proposed method are the flexibility to be applied on any (connected) subset of interferograms and the quality description via the provision of a full covariance matrix of the estimates. Results from both synthetic experiments and a case study over the Torfajökull volcano in Iceland demonstrate that the proposed method can efficiently filter noise from wrapped multibaseline interferometric stacks, resulting in doubling the number of detected coherent pixels with respect to conventional persistent scatterer interferometry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7501494
Pages (from-to)5671-5687
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Distributed scatterers (DS)
  • integer least squares (ILS)
  • interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)
  • phase linking
  • phase triangulation
  • radar interferometry


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