I need to start learning about the interferometry techniques available/used for remote sensing data (radar or optical).

  • Which are the main applications?
  • Which techniques are applied?
  • Which Earth Observation data is more adequate?
  • Which software (free or comercial) is better?
  • Other important issues.

Help? Thanks.

  • 1
    Can you elaberate more. What are you hoping to do? Can you explain some of the questions you would like to have asked using Remote Sensing? Ie: image classification (what is on the land), change detection (what has changed over a specified time period). Its hard to answer your question without having a more defined scope. The nature of your question makes it easy to say all are good and none are good, as it really depends on what you want to look at. – Ryan Garnett Jun 6 '12 at 14:07
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    That's a lot of questions. You might want to split that into different questions to fit the StackExchange format. – R.K. Nov 7 '12 at 6:29

Optical interferometry is not a remote sensing concept. It is an optics and high-level astronomy concept. Telescopes are limited in resolution relative to the maximum distance between points on their primary mirror (the diameter, conventionally). Interferometer telescope arrays combine the beams of two to six telescope mirrors that are located hundreds of meters away in order to achieve higher resolution than it's possible to construct a telescope mirror for.

In theory it's possible to construct a satellite optical interferometer for earth observation rather than astronomical use, but these things are incredibly hard to build, requiring the mirrors to be precisely located in positions on the order of tens of atoms. I'm aware that the GEOINT community can put to shame anything that NASA's developed, and it would be very useful, but a large interferometer surviving a rocket launch is a tall order, and not really necessary when one has spyplanes.

Interferograms created from Synthetic Aperture Radar are a common source of highly detailed local Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). Unless you're dealing directly with satellite data, you shouldn't have to mess with these concepts, though - you'd just be dealing directly with a DEM.

What are you trying to do?


I assume you are addressing "SAR Interferometry" which is used for deformation monitoring as well as land subsidence monitoring (as far as I can understand your question more properly from your comment on "Jun 6 '12 at 14:36"). I would suggest you to start learning "SAR Remote Sensing" before starting SAR interferometry. One of the best way to start is to register ESA "Echoes in Space MOOC on Radar Remote Sensing" course

Regarding your questions, my answers are as below:

  • Main applications: Land subsidence monitoring, landslides monitoring, soil moisture, water level measurement, urban change
  • Spaceborne SAR Differential interferometry (DInSAR), Permanent Scatterer InSAR(PS-InSAR), Small BAseline Subset (SBAS) and SqueeSAR
  • DORIS, ROI-PAC, GMTSAR, ESA SNAP, MintPy (open source software)
  • I would suggest NASA InSAR tutorial

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