Ship detection using RADARSAT-2 Fine Quad Mode and simulated compact polarimetry data


  1. Liu, C.
  2. Vachon, P.W.
  3. English, R.A.
  4. Sandirasegaram, N.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
This Technical Memorandum presents an evaluation baseline for ship detection employing RADARSAT-2 Fine Quad (FQ) Mode imagery and an initial investigation of the potential performance for data obtained by a compact polarimetry (CP) SAR system. A CP SAR system with circular polarization on transmission and two orthogonal linear polarizations on receive was simulated using RADARSAT-2 FQ data. Polarimetric SAR (PolSAR) ship detection algorithms were applied to both the FQ and simulated CP data. From statistical decision theory, the likelihood ratio test with Neyman-Pearson criterion was used to define a decision variable. FQ, dual polarization (including simulated CP, and horizontal polarization on transmit and horizontal and vertical polarizations on receive (HH + HV) with amplitude only), and single polarization (HH) images of known ships were considered. In this study, the smallest detected ship had a length of 18 m. The results demonstrate that a quad polarization system provides the best ship detection performance in this application as compared to single and dual polarization SAR systems. The results also demonstrate that a CP system provides better performance than a conventional dual polarization system and in turn than a single polarization system. It is important to note that CP, dual polarization and single polarization systems have a swath width that is twice as wide as that of a PolSAR having the same resolution. Detection performance was characterized by calculatin

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Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-TM-2009-285 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Feb 2010
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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