On the assessment of non-local multi-looking in detection of persistent scatterers using SAR tomography

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Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) tomography has shown great potential in multi-dimensional monitoring of urban infrastructures and detection of their possible slow deformations. Along this line, undeniable improvements in SAR tomography (TomoSAR) detection framework of multiple permanent scatterers (PSs) have been observed by the use of a multi-looking operation that is the necessity for data’s covariance matrix estimation. This paper attempts to further analyze the impact of a robust multi-looking operation in TomoSAR PS detection framework and assess the challenging issues that exist in the estimation of the covariance matrix of large stack data obtained from long interferometric time series acquisition. The analyses evaluate the performance of non-local covariance matrix estimation approaches in PS detection framework using the super-resolution multi-looked Generalized Likelihood Ratio Test (GLRT). Experimental results of multi-looking impact assessment are provided using two datasets acquired by COSMO-SkyMED (CSK) and TerraSAR-X (TSX) over Tehran, Iran, and Toulouse, France, respectively. The results highlight that non-local estimation of the sample covariance matrix allows revealing the presence of the scatterers, that may not be detectable using the conventional local-based framework.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3195
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number19
Early online date30 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • synthetic aperture radar tomography
  • covariance matrix of big data
  • multi-look GLRT
  • Multiple PS detection


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