Multichannel whitening of SAR imagery

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1 January 1996

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The presence of speckle in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery makes image interpretation more difficult and worsens the performance of algorithms designed to detect objects in the imagery. Image processing techniques to reduce speckle usually do so at the expense of spatial resolution. Multichannel whitening is one image processing technique that reduces image speckle while maintaining spatial resolution. Multichannel whitening is applied to imagery recorded during a foliage penetration experiment undertaken by MIT Lincoln Laboratory using the NASA/JPL UHF, L-, C-band fully polarimetric SAR in July 1990. In this experiment, a 50 km/sup 2/ forested area near Portage, Maine was imaged. Twenty-seven 8 ft trihedral corner reflectors were arrayed throughout the imaged area beneath the foliage in order to measure foliage attenuation. The detection performance for corner reflectors under foliage is compared for the raw data and whitened data, and the predictions of a product model for the degree of speckle reduction are compared with the data.