Ship detection with TanDEM-X data extending the Polarimetric Notch Filter

Marino, Armando and Hajnsek, Irena (2015). Ship detection with TanDEM-X data extending the Polarimetric Notch Filter. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 12(10) pp. 2160–2164.



Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) plays a vital role in ship detection due to the possibility to acquire high resolution images at night-time and under cloud cover. This paper is focused on improving ship detection exploiting the capability of TanDEM-X to collect interferometric data. Currently, along-track interferometry (ATI) is used to estimate the speed of ocean surface currents or vessels. The detection of ships plays an important role in the retrieval of vessel speed and is mostly executed exploiting only one of the TanDEM-X images (i.e. not taking advantage of the availability of a second interferometric image).

The aim of this study is to extend the capabilities of a ship detector previously developed by the authors, namely Geometrical Perturbation-Polarimetric Notch Filter (GP-PNF) in order to include single-pass interferometric information acquired by TanDEM-X. Interestingly, such enhancement makes it possible to employ the GP-PNF with single-polarization data as well.

The proposed algorithms and their statistical behavior are tested on five Tandem-X dual-polarimetric HH/VV scenes acquired in the North Sea. The detection results are validated exploiting AIS location of vessels. All the new GP-PNF versions show good performance and provide larger vessel-sea contrast compared with single-channel detectors.

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