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Ship detection performance using simulated dual-polarization RADARSAT constellation mission data

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The RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) planned to be launched in 2018 is designed to support maritime surveillance requirements in which ice, wind, oil pollution, and ships are to be monitored by providing wide swath beam modes. In this article, we introduce the first analysis of ship detection performance using simulated RCM data. We report ship detection performance using a likelihood ratio test (LRT) for three wide swath RCM imaging modes: Ship Detection (25 m), Low Resolution (100 m), and Medium Resolution (50 m). These beam modes were assessed for a number of dual-polarimetric (dual-pol) systems, including the standard linear polarizations as well as compact polarimetry (CP). These data were simulated from RADARSAT-2 Fine Quad (FQ) mode in the three RCM modes. Furthermore, the detection performance of the pseudo-quad data reconstructed from the simulated circular transmit, linear receive data is also investigated and compared to the other systems’ performance for the three RCM modes. The receiver operating characteristic curves are used in this study as the basic measure of detection performance for all beam modes and all detectors. We found that the compact polarimetric SAR detectors outperform the conventional linear dual-pol detectors at the three RCM modes for ship detection for medium to high incidence angles. At steep angles, the performance of the two polarization configurations was comparable. Our study confirmed that detection performance improved as incidence angle and spatial resolution increased. We also investigated the impact of the ship orientation with respect to the radar beam and found that detection performance was generally higher when ship was oriented perpendicular to the radar beam.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geomatics Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N$

Publication date: March 19, 2015

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