Preliminary studies on corner reflectors responses as seen in Sentinel-1A images over Kanakapura region

  • Nathiya Onisi KirubanandamEmail author
  • Garudachar Raju
Research Article


Spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) performance may get degraded due to component degradation, aging, thermal variations of the environment and so on. Performance degradation should be corrected when the spaceborne SAR is in orbit. Calibration is implemented on the radar imagery by radiometric calibration which gives the relationship between digital number and backscattering coefficient. Radiometric calibration gives calibration constant, which is the key parameter to convert the SAR digital numbers into backscattering coefficient. With radiometrically calibrated image, the performance of one sensor can be compared with other sensors through multiple acquisitions to improve quantitative analysis of SAR performance. Radiometric calibration is done by ground deployed corner reflectors (CR). CRs have well-known radar cross sections, and hence, the derived radar cross sections from the SAR image are compared with the theoretical RCS to characterize the SAR sensor. An attempt is made to study the effectiveness of calibration, using different combination of CRs (various sizes and shapes) by deploying CR’s in the Jain Global institutions—JGI global Campus, Jakkasandra, Bangalore, and average sigma-naught (σ0) is estimated through multiple acquisitions of Sentinel-1A. Sentinel-1A was launched by European Space agency in 2014, having SAR as a payload. Sentinel-1A is an open source system which operates in four different modes with different resolution schemes. In this paper, Interferometric Wide swath mode of Sentinel-1A is used as that particular mode of acquisition is available over Jain Global campus. This paper presents the general criteria for selection of CRs and the measures taken during deployment. Integral method is used to estimate the calibration coefficient of Sentinel SAR data with different interpolation factors.


Radiometric calibration Synthetic aperture radar Corner reflectors Integral method 



Authors gratefully thank the support extended by ISRO-SAC senior scientists, Dr. A. K. Mathur, Shri. V. Ramanujam, Smt. Shweta, Shri. Raghav Mehra for very useful discussions and also acknowledge the encouragement received from Dr. Hari prasad, Director SET, Prof. V. Parameshwaran, Director IIAEM Shri. Shine Gopal, Facility manager SET during deployments. Also authors acknowledge the technical support and co-operation received from Mr. Vaisakh, Mr. Abrar Khan, Mr. Akshay Raj, the final year students of IIAEM with gratitude. Authors appreciate the response received from SENTINEL forum toward learning the SNAP toolbox. This work is being carried out at Jain University under the RESPOND project on “On-Orbit Characterization of Space-Borne Synthetic Aperture Radar using Ground Deployed Corner reflectors.”


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Remote Sensing 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aerospace Engineering, International Institute for Aerospace Engineering and ManagementJGI-Global Campus, Jain UniversityKanakapura, BangaloreIndia

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