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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(3), 193;

Detection and Characterization of Ship Targets Using CryoSat-2 Altimeter Waveforms

Applied Physics Department, University of Cadiz (Spain), Avenida República Saharaui, s/n, Puerto Real 11510, Spain
CNR Institute of Information Science and Technologies (CNR-ISTI), Via Moruzzi 1, Pisa 56024, Italy
CNR Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (CNR-IREA), Via Diocleziano 328, Napoli 80124, Italy
CNR Institute of Biophysics (CNR-IBF), Via Moruzzi 1, Pisa 56024, Italy
The authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Xiaofeng Li and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 16 December 2015 / Revised: 10 February 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2016 / Published: 27 February 2016
Full-Text   |   PDF [2240 KB, uploaded 27 February 2016]   |  


This article describes an investigation of the new possibilities offered by SAR altimetry compared with conventional altimetry in the detection and characterization of non-ocean targets. We explore the capabilities of the first SAR altimeter installed on the European Space Agency satellite CryoSat-2 for the detection and characterization of ships. We propose a methodology for the detection of anomalous targets in the radar signals, based on the advantages of SAR/Doppler processing over conventional altimetry. A simple metric is proposed for the automatic detection and separation of ship targets; additional geometric considerations are introduced, to assess the compatibility between the structures detected and the actual location and characteristics of the ships observed. A test-case is presented with multiple targets that are confirmed as large vessels cruising in the proximity of a CryoSat-2 track crossing the Alboran Sea (Western Mediterranean). The presence and position of these ships at the time of satellite passage have been corroborated by the data retrieved from the Automatic Information System database. A principal motive for this research is the future altimetry missions that will provide global SAR coverage (e.g., Sentinel-3). This methodology may complement the existing tracking systems, with particular reference to the capability of compiling global statistics based on freely available data. View Full-Text
Keywords: SAR altimetry; CryoSat-2 SIRAL; altimeter waveforms; ship detection SAR altimetry; CryoSat-2 SIRAL; altimeter waveforms; ship detection

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Gómez-Enri, J.; Scozzari, A.; Soldovieri, F.; Coca, J.; Vignudelli, S. Detection and Characterization of Ship Targets Using CryoSat-2 Altimeter Waveforms. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 193.

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