SAR methods and applications - Maritime

We develop and validate novel methods for the detection and tracking of vessels and ocean features (e.g., sea ice, icebergs) from space-borne SAR, using Sentinel-1A/B IWS and RADARSAT-'s Maritime Satellite Surveillance Radar (MSSR) imaging modes (and later RCM) as the main data sources. We make use of both single- and multi-aperture data, with the former allowing use of (partial) polarimetric information and the latter GMTI/ATI like techniques.

Robust vessel detection, characterization, and classification: Our research focuses on how and to which extent partially polarimetric data allow to discriminate between natural targets occurring in diverse maritime environments and vessels expected to operate in these environments (tankers, containers, bulks, naval ships, etc.). We also study the potential of sub-aperture processing to vessel detection and characterization by analyzing the spectral diversity of SAR images and we investigate the impact of vessel motion on SAR estimated vessel characteristics (e.g. length, heading) by refocusing the raw data around vessels detected in an initial focused image.

Improving dual-aperture vessel detection and characterization: We integrate advanced focusing methods (autofocus, pitch/roll/yaw model, vessel signatures) with dual-aperture analysis methods to improve velocity estimation from RADARSAT-2 data. To suppress sea surface clutter signal and achieve optimal detection of moving objects, we also develop novel “clutter-cancellation” methods based on Displaced Phase Center Antenna (DPCA) and along-track interferometry (ATI).

Vessel detection and ocean feature monitoring for the Arctic environment: Compared to other marine environments, the Arctic exhibits highly complex behavior due to seasonal sea ice formation and decay, as well as long-term due to climate change. We develop methods for sea ice classification, tracking of ice motion and strain as well as iceberg trajectories that are instrumental in enhancing vessel detection and tracking in such a complex environment.