Automatic Phase Unwrapping Algorithms in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Interferometry

Jerome J. AKERSON  Yingching Eric YANG  Yoshihisa HARA  Bae-Ian WU  Jin A. KONG  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E83-C    No.12    pp.1896-1904
Publication Date: 2000/12/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Issue on Problems of Random Scattering and Electromagnetic Wave Sensing)
Category: SAR Interferometry and Signal Processing
SAR interferometry,  phase unwrapping,  height inversion,  

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In Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR), phase unwrapping holds the key to accurate inversion of digital elevation data. Two new techniques are introduced in this paper that can perform automatic phase unwrapping. The first one is an "optimal" branch-cut algorithm and the second one a hybrid branch-cut/least-square technique, in which pole locations form the weighting basis for the weighted least-square approach. Application of both techniques to ERS-1 data indicates that the height inversion errors are comparable and offer over fifty percent reduction in root mean square (rms) height error compared to the straight least squares method and over thirty-five percent reduction in rms height error compared to the weighted least squares method based on coherence data weighting schemes. The hybrid technique is especially appealing due to its computational efficiency and robustness when compared to traditional branch-cut algorithms.