Sparse reconstrcution techniques for SAR tomography

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Tomographic SAR inversion, including SAR tomography and differential SAR tomography, is essentially a spectral analysis problem. The resolution in the elevation direction depends on the size of the elevation aperture, i.e. on the spread of orbit tracks. Since the orbits of modern meter-resolution space-borne SAR systems, like TerraSAR-X, are tightly controlled, the tomographic elevation resolution is at least an order of magnitude lower than in range and azimuth. Hence, super-resolution reconstruction algorithms are desired. The high anisotropy of the 3D tomographic resolution element renders the signals sparse in the elevation direction; only a few point-like reflections are expected per azimuth-range cell. Considering the sparsity of the signal in elevation, a compressive sensing based algorithm is proposed in this paper: Scale-down by L1 norm Minimization, Model selection, and Estimation Reconstruction (SL1MMER, pronounced slimmer). It combines the advantages of compressive sensing, e.g. super-resolution capability, with the high amplitude and phase accuracy of linear estimators, and features a model order selection step which is demonstrated with several examples using TerraSAR-X spotlight data. Moreover, we investigate the ultimate bounds of the technique on localization accuracy and super-resolution power. Finally, a practical demonstration of the super resolution of SL1MMER for SAR tomographic reconstruction is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication17th DSP 2011 International Conference on Digital Signal Processing, Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011
Event17th International Conference on Digital Signal Processing, DSP 2011 - Corfu, Greece
Duration: 6 Jul 20118 Jul 2011

Publication series

Name17th DSP 2011 International Conference on Digital Signal Processing, Proceedings


Conference17th International Conference on Digital Signal Processing, DSP 2011


  • SAR tomography
  • Synthetic aperture radar
  • TerraSAR-X
  • compressive sensing
  • sparse reconstruction


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