Radio Science

Satellite radar interferometry: Two-dimensional phase unwrapping


  • Richard M. Goldstein,

  • Howard A. Zebker,

  • Charles L. Werner


Interferometric synthetic aperture radar observations provide a means for obtaining high-resolution digital topographic maps from measurements of amplitude and phase of two complex radar images. The phase of the radar echoes may only be measured modulo 2π; however, the whole phase at each point in the image is needed to obtain elevations. We present here our approach to “unwrapping” the 2π ambiguities in the two-dimensional data set. We find that noise and geometrical radar layover corrupt our measurements locally, and these local errors can propagate to form global phase errors that affect the entire image. We show that the local errors, or residues, can be readily identified and avoided in the global phase estimation. We present a rectified digital topographic map derived from our unwrapped phase values.