News and Events


The SFU team is conducting the second phase of the PBI project where polar bears will be imaged in their dens in Svalbard. Our research aims to establish SAR as a useful tool to identify occupied and unoccupied polar bear dens remotely from aircraft to study polar bears biology and denning behavior.

February, 2022

Congratulations to Dr. Jayson Eppler on successfully defending his PhD Dissertation, “Coherent SAR Methods for Monitoring Dry-Snow Covered Terrain”!

October, 2021

SFU SARlab in collaboration with Polar Bears International (PBI) and Brigham Young University (BYU) conducted a field campaign in in Churchill, Manitoba (Polar bear capital of the world). Overall goal of SFU’s collaboration with PBI is to contribute to PBI’s conservation efforts of the global polar bear population and to learn more about the biology of these bears. Concrete goal of this campaign (phase 1) was to image resting polar bears in the open, while they are waiting on the shore for sea ice to build, with both SAR and fodar, to better constrain the bears’ radar cross sections. This is in preparation of another winter campaign (phase 2) conducted in Svalbard in March 2022 to assess the potential of airborne SAR to find and map occupied polar bear dens via the unique radar refraction signatures that the characteristic voids in the snow create. For the Churchill campaign, the SFU airborne SAR-optical system was operated from a helicopter (Jetranger) platform for the first time. Both the campaigns are being funded by Polar Bears Internationals (PBI).

August-September, 2021

The SFU SARlab Team conducted a successful field campaign where a new (single pass InSAR) system component was added to our previous configuration. The new C-band uASAR component can be operated simultaneously with the existing L & X- band SlimSAR and Fodar systems. One of our goals with the extended system is to study snow penetration of SAR in firn in the accumulation area of the Kaskawulsh Glacier with top surface elevation provided by fodar DEM in collaboration with ESA and CSA. Repeat collects over the western and northern part of Kluane Lake targeted permafrost change along the Alaska Canada Highway as part of our collaborations through Canadian PermafrostNet. Further tomographic datasets were also collected over the Slims River Delta. Repeat pass InSAR and fodar datasets over Lowell and Kaskawulsh Glaciers were also collected as part of the experiment to study the probable surging of Lowell Glacier. The field campaign was partly funded by PCSP and CFI.

August-September, 2020

A field campaign was conducted with our combined SlimSAR and Fodar system to collect data for Permafrost change montoring over the Alaska Canada Highway, in collaboration with Canadian PermafrostNet. Moreover datasets were collected over Kaskawulsh Glacier, Boreal Forest, Rock Glaciers and the Slims RiverDelta for various SAR experimentss. The field campaign was funded by PCSP.

September, 2019

Welcome to PhD Candidate Usman Iqbal Ahmed, who joined us from National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan

August-September, 2019

The SFU Team conducted successful flight trials of our newly commissioned Fodar (optical structure from motion) system component, integrated with the already existing radar system. A range of different experiments were performed during this campaign including glacier mapping, testing resulting DEM accuracy for nadir and oblique geometry, acquiring benchmark SAR tomographic datasets over Slims River Delta, as well as establishing our SAR ATI capability by measuring the velocity of a test vessel in Kluane Lake from various angles. The operational cost was funded by PCSP and CFI.  

May 14, 2019

Jayson Eppler recently flew a third SlimSAR campaign in and around Kluane National Park, Yukon. The campaign flights were funded by the Polar Continental Shelf Program. Datasets over a total of 44 flight lines were acquired during the campaign. Areas covered include: Alaska Highway (permafrost dynamics), multiple glacier sites in Kluane Park (glacier dynamics and snow structure/ volume imaging), Kluane Lake (ice breakup). The trip included temporary installation of trihedral corner reflectors in the seasonal snowpack at a site on the Kluane Icefield to study SAR based snow water equivalent estimation. Special thanks to Eliel Bureau-Lafontaine who helped with the corner reflector installation - and digging!


March 11, 2019

Bernhard Rabus, Manuele Pichierri and students Jayson Eppler and Mike Kubanski are back from the second SlimSAR data acquisition campaign. The primary purpose of this campaign was the acquisition of tomographic datasets of the Slims River Valley near Kluane Lake Yukon. These datasets were acquired for the Canadian Space Agency as Mars analogue acquisitions to study the feasibility of subsurface ice mapping on Mars.


January 14, 2019

Welcome to PhD candidate Arturo Velasco who joined us from Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain.

September 4, 2018

Bernhard Rabus and Manuele Pichierri are back from a successful campaign to carry out the first SlimSAR data acquisition at the Kluane National Park and Reserve (Yukon, Canada). SAR data (19 flight lines, 62 profiles) have been acquired in L-Band (quad-pol) and X-Band over a variety of test sites (e.g. glaciers, landslide-prone slopes, permafrost-affected areas) in both across-track (single- and repeat-pass) and along-track InSAR configurations.   
The campaign was made possible through the collaboration with Lance Goodwin and Sian Williams from the flight operator Icefield Discovery. Special thanks go to Dr. Evan Zaugg from ARTEMIS Inc., Prof. Gwenn Flowers (SFU Glaciology group) and Prof. Dan Shugar (University of Washington Tacoma, USA) for their valuable help on planning the campaign.

August 20, 2018

Bernhard Rabus is back from the second field campaign in Inuvik, NT to install a permafrost-active-layer motion sensor (constructed following a design by Prof. Stephan Gruber from Carleton University) and a pair of corner reflectors near the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway. The campaign was conducted under the expert supervision of Peter Morse (Geological Survey of Canada) and provides ground-truthing for our space-borne InSAR project targeted at separating snow signal and permafrost active layer displacement (Jayson Eppler's PhD topic).  

July 16, 2018

Bernhard Rabus joined Franz Mayer (University of Alaska) and Frank Wuttig (Alyeska Pipelines) for a 4-day field campaign at the Fels Glacier Slide in Alaska. The fieldwork produced high quality ground-based dual-geometry radar acquisitions that will greatly enhance the geophysical modeling of the landslide with the ongoing spaceborne InSAR data collection.


June 26, 2018

New paper in Remote Sensing on a novel InSAR phase demodulation technique developed for the multi-lobed landslide displacement fields of Fels Glacier Slide, Alaska.  

May 28, 2018

New paper in Remote Sensing on the potential of Staring Spotlight TerraSAR-X InSAR for the identification and monitoring of small-scale landslide deformation, by SARlab PhD student Farnoush Hosseini.

May 9, 2018

Yifang Ban from Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden visited our group. Prof. Ban is the Chair Professor and Director of Division of Geoinformatics, Vice Chair of Department of Urban Planning and Environment at KTH, where she works on multitemporal remote sensing, SAR and optical image analysis, image segmentation, change detection and urban analysis.

April 25, 2018

We have established collaboration with the flight operator Icefield Discovery (Kluane Lake Outpost Station, Yukon) to mount our SlimSAR sensor on their helio-courier planes and carry out our first data acquisition in Yukon this summer.

April 20, 2018

Congratulations to Nick Wooster for successfully defending his M.Eng. project entitled “Development of a Motion Vector Field Model of an Unstable Slope Using Terrestrial Radar Interferometry”.

March 12, 2018

PhD candidate Jayson Eppler joined Peter Morse (Geological Survey of Canada) for a 1-week field campaign in Inuvik, NT to measure snow depth, density and snow water equivalent over multiple selected sites along the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway. The ground measurements are instrumental in improving the snow signal characterization to extend the InSAR monitoring of permafrost displacement into the snow-covered season.

February 19, 2018

Congratulation to Jayson Eppler on winning the Mitacs Globalink Research Award! Jayson's award will allow him to pursue research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) for three months under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Michael Eineder.


December 8, 2017

Dr. Susanne Lehner from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany, visited our group from November to December 2017. Dr. Lehner is a Research Scientist in marine remote sensing with the Remote Sensing Technology Institute (DLR/IMF) of DLR, where she works on the development of algorithms for marine parameter estimation using synthetic aperture radar data. During her visit, Dr. Lehner gave a seminar talk entitled “Significant Wave Height under Hurricane Irma derived from SAR Sentinel-1 Data” and worked with us extensively on fleshing out future joint project ideas in SAR maritime applications.

November 29, 2017

Evan Zaugg from ARTEMIS Inc. visited our group today to functionality-test and calibrate the SlimSAR airborne sensor recently acquired for SARlab through CFI (John R. Evans Leaders Fund). The ARTEMIS SlimSAR is a modular, dual-band, multi-polarization synthetic aperture radar that can be installed on a variety of small aircraft for applications including GMTI, interferometry for terrain height estimation, and change detection. During his visit, Dr Zaugg trained the group on the SlimSAR system in form of a live demo in the lab (in anticipation of flight operations of the system next spring).

October 9, 2017

New paper in Remote Sensing of Environment on the potential of Polarimetric SAR Interferometry to estimate the biomass and water content of crops, by SFU postdoc Manuele Pichierri.

September 22, 2017

We caught the last glimpse of summer on our canoe trip to Pitt Lake, BC. Thanks to Prof. Bernhard Rabus for organizing the group event.

August 01, 2017

Welcome to PhD candidate Mohammad Hashemi who joined us from K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Iran.

July 17, 2017

An interesting collaboration opportunity emerged at the Fels Glacier Slide in Alaska to develop novel algorithms for spaceborne InSAR times series data, as well as linking InSAR and geophysical modeling (a joint research project of the SAR-IRC and SFU Earth Sciences begun in summer 2016). The opportunity consisted of an offer by Alyeska Pipelines (a major stakeholder at the test site) to logistically support a ground-based measurement campaign involving both the University of Alaska and SFU. The fieldwork produced high quality ground-based dual-geometry radar acquisitions, as well as hyperspectral, thermal and photogrammetric data that will greatly enhance the geophysical modeling with the ongoing spaceborne InSAR data collection.

May 01, 2017

Welcome to PhD candidate Farnoush Hosseini who joined us from University of Tehran, Iran.

March 23, 2017

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has approved a $25,000 Engage grant for the project "Integrated processing of high-resolution spaceborne InSAR and LIDAR to produce better displacement map series for landslides". We are very excited and look forward to our new collaboration with BGC Engineering Inc.!

February 28, 2017

Prof. Bernhard Rabus was awarded a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund to purchase a dual-band full polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SlimSAR). About the size of a small carry-on suitcase, the radar will be mounted under a small airplane or drone, where it will transmit microwave radiation and then record the backscatter from the Earth’s surface. This technology can be used to develop new ways of monitoring wildfires, landslides and earthquakes, as well as to improve B.C.’s maritime surveillance.


November 29, 2016

Simon Fraser University is partnering with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to spur innovation in space-based radar technologies and work-integrated learning. On behalf of this new partnership, President Andrew Petter today announced the appointment of SFU engineering science professor Bernhard Rabus to a new Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).