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Advanced Sentinel-1 analysis ready data for Africa



Historically for land application, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite imagery has often been seen only as as complement to optical remote sensing in cloud covered areas.

There are several reasons for this:

1) the threshold of interpretation and understanding of SAR imagery is often perceived as very high to an untrained user,

2) the human capacity and technical capability in pre-processing SAR data has been out of reach without adequate, often expensive software, and technically-trained staff and

3) the availability of data has been too sparse and expensive for being used operationally for applications other than in (sub)-polar regions.

This has especially been the case in developing countries.

The Copernicus program, specifically the Sentinel-1A/B (S1) satellites, and recent international efforts opened for a new era of operational SAR application, data access and processing and overcome the challenges 2 and 3 above.

Satellite open data cubes (ODC) are currently developed in several countries, including in Africa, with the aim to provide analysis ready data (ARD) from both optical and SAR sensors. The combination of both optical and SAR generally improves the application results. However, for SAR data these ARD efforts generally aim to provide only pre-processed, i.e. radiometric, terrain and slope corrected and georeferenced, single SAR scenes or, at the best, yearly mosaics with questionable consistency and reduce little the subjective reluctance of using SAR data operationally. The purely vast amount of single scenes therefore needs further processing in order to reduce the amount of data as well as to make the data more attractive and easier to interpret for untrained users.

This project is intended to overcome user reluctance to integrate SAR data into their EO monitoring and assessment activities by making advanced SAR products available as Analysis Ready Data and demonstrate the possibilities of processing and integrating these data with conventional EO data in a cloud environment. The primary focus will be users in developing countries so the demonstration activities will explicitly take into account issues such as bandwidth constraints.


Sustainable Development
Prime contractor