Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR) Remote Sensing Basics and Applications

GeoSpatial WareHouse

This post will provide an overview of the basics of Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR) and applications. The main topics discussed in the listed documents include: SAR basics, backscatter, geometry, interferometry, polarimetry, SAR data, data acquisition, available data sets/access to data, data analysis tools, future missions and SAR applications. Please do check Part 2 for more details.

What is RADAR? – RAdio Detection And Ranging

What is SAR? – Synthetic Aperture Radar – Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is an active remote sensing technology that uses microwave energy to illuminate the surface. The system records the elapsed timeand energy of the return pulse received by the antenna (PDF).

Image result for SAR satellite systems (source: unavco)

Synthetic Aperature Radar (SAR) Tutorials

  1. A Tutorial on Synthetic Aperture RADAR – ESA (PDF )  (PDF) (Radiometric Calibration of SAR Image)
  2. The Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) is considered…

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About WQ

I received my PhD in 2013 from the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, from the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, with specialization in Remote Sensing, Earth and Space Science, as a Fulbright fellow. Thereafter, I served for many years in the faculty of the Dept. of Space Science, Institute of Space Technology (IST), Islamabad, Pakistan, where I initiated the Radar Remote Sensing group, and was one of the founders of the Geospatial Research & Education Lab (GREL). I also spent a few months as a Visiting Researcher at Radar Remote Sensing Group, Division of Microwave & Optical Remote Sensing, Department of Space, Earth & Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. Since late 2021, I am the CTO at Offshore Monitoring Ltd. (, leading the complete technical team there. My core specialization makes me think of myself as an Earth Scientist or Remote Sensing Scientist, with specialized skills in EO / SAR remote sensing, satellite oceanography, scientific programming, and strategic management of technical teams with diverse skill sets. I am a reviewer for various international scientific journals and conferences. I am an alumnus of Pakistan National Physics Talent Contest (NPTC), an alumnus of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, and a Fulbright fellow. From 2013 – 2017, I have been the Pakistan National Point of Contact for Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). I was an invited speaker at the TEDxIslamabad event held in Nov., 2014, and have also served as a mentor in the NASA International Space Apps Challenge Islamabad events in April 2015 and 2016. I was an invited panelist at the School of Tomorrow event in Karachi, held in Nov., 2018. In the past, I have also served regularly on interview panels for final selection of Fulbright MS and PhD candidates from Pakistan.

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