We used synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data collected over Peru’s Lines and Geoglyphs of the Nasca and Palpa World Heritage Site to detect and measure landscape disturbance threatening world-renowned archaeological features and ecosystems. We employed algorithms to calculate correlations between pairs of SAR returns, collected at different times, and generate correlation images. Landscape disturbances even on the scale of pedestrian travel are discernible in correlation images generated from airborne, L-band SAR. Correlation images derived from C-band SAR data collected by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellites also provide detailed landscape change information. Because the two Sentinel-1 satellites together have a repeat pass interval that can be as short as six days, products derived from their data can not only provide information on the location and degree of ground disturbance, but also identify a time window of about one to three weeks during which disturbance must have occurred. For Sentinel-1, this does not depend on collecting data in fine-beam modes, which generally sacrifice the size of the area covered for a higher spatial resolution. We also report on pixel value stretching for a visual analysis of SAR data, quantitative assessment of landscape disturbance, and statistical testing for significant landscape change.
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