Synthetic Aperture Radar

The Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO) is considered an international leader in the development and use of synthetic aperture radar or SAR sensors.  From space, SAR can image the Earth’s surface through clouds and in total darkness.  This makes it a tremendously useful sensor for monitoring Canada’s changing landmass and coastal zones.

CCMEO scientists have worked with the Canadian Space Agency in the development of both RADARSAT 1 and RADARSAT 2  satellite missions.  Their research has led to improved data quality through enhanced sensor design and post-launch calibration and validation activities.

Radarsat-1 mosaic of Canada

RADARSAT-1 Mosaic of Canada collected over a seven-day period in 1999. The mosaic was produced by the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and with contributions from MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. RADARSAT-1 data © CSA

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RADARSAT-1 Mosaic of Canada collected over a seven-day period in 1999

RADARSAT-1 captured the 276 images that comprise these 100-metre resolution mosaics of the Canadian provinces over a brief seven-day period in January 1999. The result is a nearly instantaneous snapshot of the entire country.

Using RADARSAT data, as well as SAR data from foreign sensors (e.g. TeraSAR-X, ALOS), new methods are being developed to measure and monitor:

Past research has focused on:

In the future, constellations of SAR satellites will provide daily coverage of Canada.  CCMEO is leading a Government of Canada research and development effort to prepare for the 3-satellite RADARSAT Constellation Mission to be launched in 2018.