Reliable estimation of orbit errors in spaceborne SAR interferometry: The network approach

Hermann Bähr, Ramon F. Hanssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


An approach to improve orbital state vectors by orbit error estimates derived from residual phase patterns in synthetic aperture radar interferograms is presented. For individual interferograms, an error representation by two parameters is motivated: the baseline error in cross-range and the rate of change of the baseline error in range. For their estimation, two alternatives are proposed: a least squares approach that requires prior unwrapping and a less reliable gridsearch method handling the wrapped phase. In both cases, reliability is enhanced by mutual control of error estimates in an overdetermined network of linearly dependent interferometric combinations of images. Thus, systematic biases, e. g., due to unwrapping errors, can be detected and iteratively eliminated. Regularising the solution by a minimum-norm condition results in quasi-absolute orbit errors that refer to particular images. For the 31 images of a sample ENVISAT dataset, orbit corrections with a mutual consistency on the millimetre level have been inferred from 163 interferograms. The method itself qualifies by reliability and rigorous geometric modelling of the orbital error signal but does not consider interfering large scale deformation effects. However, a separation may be feasible in a combined processing with persistent scatterer approaches or by temporal filtering of the estimates. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1164
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Baseline error
  • Data snooping
  • InSAR
  • Network adjustment
  • Orbit error
  • Outlier test


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