Differential interferometric synthetic aperture radar has been shown to be effective for monitoring subsidence in coal mining areas. Phase unwrapping can have a dramatic influence on the monitoring result. In this paper, a filtering-based phase unwrapping algorithm in combination with path-following is introduced to unwrap differential interferograms with high noise in mining areas. It can perform simultaneous noise filtering and phase unwrapping so that the pre-filtering steps can be omitted, thus usually retaining more details and improving the detectable deformation. For the method, the nonlinear measurement model of phase unwrapping is processed using a simplified Cubature Kalman filtering, which is an effective and efficient tool used in many nonlinear fields. Three case studies are designed to evaluate the performance of the method. In Case 1, two tests are designed to evaluate the performance of the method under different factors including the number of multi-looks and path-guiding indexes. The result demonstrates that the unwrapped results are sensitive to the number of multi-looks and that the Fisher Distance is the most suitable path-guiding index for our study. Two case studies are then designed to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed phase unwrapping method based on Cubature Kalman filtering. The results indicate that, compared with the popular Minimum Cost Flow method, the Cubature Kalman filtering-based phase unwrapping can achieve promising results without pre-filtering and is an appropriate method for coal mining areas with high noise.
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