New target detector based on geometrical perturbation filters for polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (POL-SAR)
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is an active microwave remote sensing system able to acquire high resolution images of the scattering behaviour of an observed scene. The contribution of SAR polarimetry (POLSAR) in detection and classification of objects is described and found to add valuable information compared to previous approaches. In this thesis, a new target detection/classification methodology is developed that makes novel use of the polarimetric information of the backscattered field from a target. The detector is based on a geometrical perturbation filter which correlates the target of interest with its perturbed version. Specifically, the operation is accomplished with a polarimetric coherence representing a weighted and normalised inner product between the target and its perturbed version, where the weights are extracted from the observables. The mathematical formulation is general and can be applied to any deterministic (point) target. However, in this thesis the detection is primarily focused on multiple reflections and oriented dipoles due to their extensive availability in common scenarios. An extensive validation against real data is provided exploiting different datasets. They include one airborne system: E-SAR L-band (DLR, German Aerospace Centre); and three satellite systems: ALOS-PALSAR L-band (JAXA, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency), RADARSAT-2 C-band (Canadian Space Agency) and TerraSAR-X X-band (DLR). The attained detection masks reveal significant agreement with the expected results based on the theoretical description. Additionally, a comparison with another widely used detector, the Polarimetric Whitening Filter (PWF) is presented. The methodology proposed in this thesis appears to outperform the PWF in two significant ways: 1) the detector is based on the polarimetric information rather than the amplitude of the return, hence the detection is not restricted to bright targets; 2) the algorithm is able to discriminate among the detected targets (i.e. target recognition).