Exploitation of space-based SAR data – Orthorectification and DEM generation using PCI's OrthoEngine® software


  1. Secker, J.
  2. Cole, M.
  3. Gong, S.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
The Canadian Forces/Department of National Defence (CF/DND) and the 5-eyes intelligence community have access to a large number of high-resolution commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites. This report focuses on data acquired by Canada’s RADARSAT-2 satellite and German’s TerraSAR-X satellite. Orthorectification is the process of correcting for perspective and terrain distortion introduced because the images are captured by a remote sensing platform; it provides a common perspective for cross-platform sensors. Digital terrain elevation data (DTED) is a matrix of terrain elevation values that can be read by a Geographic Information System (GIS). DTED is required for many applications, including terrain profiling, visualization and analysis. The ability to extract terrain/DTED from space-based SAR data is an essential capability for parts of the world where there is no data or where there is a requirement for better data. Orthorectification of space-based SAR data and extraction of DTED from space-based SAR data are fundamental CF/DND requirements, and scientists within the Radar Data Exploitation (RDE) Group perform these tasks using PCI Geomatics Inc. (PCI’s) OrthoEngine® software. This report documents the processes for RADARSAT-2 and TerraSAR-X data using PCI’s OrthoEngine® software.

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Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-TM-2011-233 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Dec 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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