AbstractsComputer Science

Ground moving target indication with synthetic aperture radars for maritime surveillance

by Eduardo Makhoul Varona

Institution: Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Catalunya
Year: 2015
Record ID: 1125230
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10803/288228


The explosive growth of shipping traffic all over the World, with around three quarters of the total trade goods and crude oil transported by sea, has raised newly emerging concerns (economical, ecological, social and geopolitical). Geo-information (location and speed) of ocean-going vessels is crucial in the maritime framework, playing a key role in the related environmental monitoring, fisheries management and maritime/coastal security. In this scenario space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing is a potential tool for globally monitoring the oceans and seas, providing two-dimensional high-resolution imaging capabilities in all-day and all-weather conditions. The combination of ground moving target indication (GMTI) modes with multichannel spaceborne SAR systems represents a powerful apparatus for surveillance of maritime activities. The level of readiness of such a technology for road traffic monitoring is still low, and for the marine scenario is even less mature. Some of the current space-based SAR missions include an experimental GMTI mode with reduced detection capabilities, especially for small and slow moving targets. In this framework, this doctoral dissertation focuses on the study and analysis of the GMTI limitations of current state-of-the-art SAR missions when operating over maritime scenarios and the proposal of novel and optimal multichannel SAR-GMTI architectures, providing subclutter visibility of small (reduced reflectivity) slow moving vessels. This doctoral activity carries out a transversal analysis embracing system-architecture proposal and optimization, processing strategies assessment, performance evaluation, sea/ocean clutter characterization and adequate calibration methodologies suggestion. Firstly, the scarce availability of multichannel SAR-GMTI raw data and the related restrictions to access it have raised the need to implement flexible simulation tools for SAR-GMTI performance evaluation and mission. These simulation tools allow the comparative study and evaluation of the SAR-GMTI mode operated with current SAR missions, showing the reduced ability of these missions to detect small and slow boats in subclutter visibility. Improved performance is achieved with the new multichannel architecture based on non-uniformly distributed receivers (with external deployable antennas), setting the ground for future SAR-GMTI mission development. Some experimental multichannel SAR-GMTI data sets over the sea and acquired with two instruments, airborne F-SAR and spaceborne TerraSAR-X (TSX) platforms, have been processed to evaluate their detection capabilities as well as the adequate processing strategies (including channel balancing). This doctoral activity presents also a preliminary characterization of the sea clutter returns imaged by the spaceborne TSX instrument in a three-level basis, i.e., radiometric, statistical and polarimetric descriptions using experimental polarimetric data. This study has shown that the system-dependent limitations, such as thermal noise and temporal…