Special Issue "Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Technology Advance and for Cultural Heritage Applications"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Fulong Chen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage under the auspices of UNESCO, No. 9 Dengzhuang South Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100094, China
Interests: remote sensing for archaeology; risk mapping and sustainable assessment of monuments and archaeo-landscapes; geoarchaeology; interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR); multi-temporal InSAR (MT-InSAR); change detection and time series analysis
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) has been proven to be a powerful remote sensing tool to monitor changes in the Earth’s surface due to its all-weather and all-day operational capability. However, bearing in mind of its unique capability of subsurface imaging, its potential in cultural heritage is still under-exploited. The launch of new radar satellites and the advance in SAR image processing and information extraction technologies such as SAR interferometry (InSAR), polarimetric SAR (PolSAR), tomographic SAR (TomoSAR) and multi-temporal InSAR (MT-InSAR) have opened a new era in SAR archaeology and cultural heritage.

This Special Issue will focus on (i) innovative SAR algorithms and processing methods, and (ii) use of multi-platform SAR imagery for sustainable archaeology and the conservation of cultural heritage sites. Submissions are encouraged to cover a broad range of topics, which may include, but are not limited to, the following activities.

  • SAR algorithm development, automation, implementation, and validation

  • SAR for subsurface imaging

  • PolSAR and TomoSAR for sustainable archaeology

  • InSAR/MT-InSAR for the conservation of cultural heritage sites.

Prof. Fulong Chen
Prof. Dr. Zhenhong Li
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • SAR processing
  • Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)
  • Time series analysis
  • PolSAR
  • TomoSAR
  • MT-InSAR
  • Archaeology
  • Cultural hertiage

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Use of Sentinel-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Images and Open-Source Software for Cultural Heritage: An Example from Paphos Area in Cyprus for Mapping Landscape Changes after a 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(15), 1766; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11151766 - 26 Jul 2019
Abstract
Active satellite remote sensors have emerged in the last years in the field of archaeology, providing new tools for monitoring extensive cultural heritage landscapes and areas. These active sensors, namely synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, provide systematic datasets for mapping land movements triggered [...] Read more.
Active satellite remote sensors have emerged in the last years in the field of archaeology, providing new tools for monitoring extensive cultural heritage landscapes and areas. These active sensors, namely synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, provide systematic datasets for mapping land movements triggered from earthquakes, landslides, and so on. Copernicus, the European program for monitoring the environment, provides continuous radar datasets through the Sentinel-1 mission with an almost worldwide coverage. This paper aims to demonstrate how the use of open-access and freely distributed datasets such as those under the Copernicus umbrella, along with the exploitation of open-source radar processing software, namely the sentinel applications platform (SNAP) and SNAPHU tools, provided respectively by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the University of Stanford, can be used to extract an SAR interferogram in the wider area of Paphos, located in the western part of Cyprus. The city includes various heritage sites and monuments, some of them already included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The interferogram was prepared to study the effects of an earthquake to the buildings and sites of the area. The earthquake of a 5.6 magnitude on the Richter scale was triggered on 15 April 2015 and was strongly felt throughout the whole island. The interferogram results were based on Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (D-InSAR) methodology, finding a maximum uplift of 74 mm and a maximum subsidence of 31 mm. The overall process and methodology are presented in this paper. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Distributed Scatterer InSAR Reveals Surface Motion of the Ancient Chaoshan Residence Cluster in the Lianjiang Plain, China
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(2), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11020166 - 16 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Lianjiang Plain in China and ancient villages distributed within the plain are under the potential threat of surface motion change, but no effective monitoring strategy currently exists. Distributed Scatterer InSAR (DSInSAR) provides a new high-resolution method for the precise detection of surface [...] Read more.
The Lianjiang Plain in China and ancient villages distributed within the plain are under the potential threat of surface motion change, but no effective monitoring strategy currently exists. Distributed Scatterer InSAR (DSInSAR) provides a new high-resolution method for the precise detection of surface motion change. In contrast to the first-generation of time-series InSAR methodology, the distributed scatterer-based method focuses both on pointwise targets with high phase stability and distributed targets with moderate coherence, the latter of which is more suitable for the comprehensive environment of the Lianjiang Plain. In this paper, we present the first study of surface motion change detection in the Lianjiang Plain, China. Two data stacks, including 54 and 29 images from Sentinel-1A adjacent orbits, are used to retrieve time-series surface motion changes for the Lianjiang Plain from 2015 to 2018. The consistency of measurement has been cross-validated between adjacent orbit results with a statistically significant determination coefficient of 0.92. The temporal evolution of representative measuring points indicates three subzones with varied surface patterns: Eastern Puning (Zone A) in a slight elastic rebound phase with a moderate deformation rate (0–40 mm/year), Chaonan (Zone B) in a substantial subsidence phase with a strong deformation rate (−140–0 mm/year), and Chaoyang (Zone C) in a homogeneous and stable situation (−10–10 mm/year). The spatial distribution of these zones suggests a combined change dynamic and a strong concordance of factors impacting surface motion change. Human activities, especially groundwater exploitation, dominate the subsidence pattern, and natural conditions act as a supplementary inducement by providing a hazard-prone environment. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of spatial and temporal details in this study provides a basis for systematic surface motion monitoring, cultural heritage protection and groundwater resources management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flood Hazard Mapping and Assessment on the Angkor World Heritage Site, Cambodia
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(1), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11010098 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
World Heritage sites in general are exposed to the impacts of natural hazards, which threaten their integrity and may compromise their value. Floods are a severe threat to the Angkor World Heritage site. Studies of regional floods and flood hazard zoning have played [...] Read more.
World Heritage sites in general are exposed to the impacts of natural hazards, which threaten their integrity and may compromise their value. Floods are a severe threat to the Angkor World Heritage site. Studies of regional floods and flood hazard zoning have played an increasingly important role in ensuring sustainability of the Angkor site. This study developed a flood hazard index (FHI) model based on a geographic information system (GIS) and used synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to extract historical floods at Angkor from 2007 to 2013. Four indices (flood affected frequency, absolute elevation, elevation standard deviation, drainage density) were used to identify flood-prone areas. The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and the Delphi method were employed to determine the weight of each index. The weighted indices were then used to develop a distribution map of flood hazards at Angkor. The results show that 9 monuments are at risk by potential floods among the 52 components of the Angkor monuments. The high hazard and moderate-to-high hazard areas in the core zone are mainly located surrounding the West Baray but will not bring direct risk impact on the monuments located in the core archaeological zone. The moderate hazard areas are located on both sides of the Siem Reap and Roluos rivers and in the flooded area of the Tonle Sap Lake in the core archaeological zone. These areas cover 19.4 km2, accounting for 9.13% of the total area of the core zone. This moderate hazard zone poses a greater flood threat to the core zone and must be given higher attention. The buffer zone is a small area with fewer sites. As such, flooding has a low impact on the buffer zone. The methods used in this study can be applied to flood hazard assessments of other heritage sites in Southeast Asia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reconstruction of the Water Cultivation Paleoenvironment Dating Back to the Han and Tang Dynasties Surrounding the Yangguan Frontier Pass Using X- and L-Band SAR Data
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1536; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101536 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Supported by a shallow groundwater wetland ecosystem, the Nanhu oasis, which is the location of the Yangguan frontier pass, represents an important supply and defence station for the ancient Silk Road. The reconstruction of the evolution of the water cultivation environment is helpful [...] Read more.
Supported by a shallow groundwater wetland ecosystem, the Nanhu oasis, which is the location of the Yangguan frontier pass, represents an important supply and defence station for the ancient Silk Road. The reconstruction of the evolution of the water cultivation environment is helpful for archaeological surveys and the protection of this well-known heritage site. This study proposes a workflow for reconstructing the water cultivation paleoenvironment-based primarily on X- and L-band spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data. First, TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X (TSX/TDX)-generated Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data were used for microrelief analyses, including a watershed analysis and drainage network extraction. Several dried-up paleochannels and the range of the Daze (a wetland dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618–907 A.D.)) were identified. Second, based on the hydrological sensitivity analysis of the multi-temporal L-band SAR data, arid land vegetation accompanying the emergence of groundwater was extracted to locate ancient arable areas using backscattering and coherence characteristics. Finally, reconstruction of the water cultivation paleoenvironment surrounding the Nanhu oasis dating back to the Han and Tang dynasties (202 B.C.–907 A.D.) was performed, referring to historical documents. New discoveries were validated by field campaigns, and the results of the SAR archaeological investigations conducted in this study indicated that the ancient arable area in the Nanhu oasis was nearly double the current dimensions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Satellite Data to Improve the Knowledge of Geohazards in World Heritage Sites
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 992; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10070992 - 22 Jun 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agency, the World Heritage Sites (WHS) inscribed in the World Heritage List (WHL) must be safeguarded with an adequate protection system, in order to guarantee their integrity and authenticity. Currently, many UNESCO [...] Read more.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agency, the World Heritage Sites (WHS) inscribed in the World Heritage List (WHL) must be safeguarded with an adequate protection system, in order to guarantee their integrity and authenticity. Currently, many UNESCO sites are threatened by geohazards, but the safeguard of these sites does not seem to be wide-ranging. Looking at the standard list of factors affecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of WHS, which has been adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2008, it seems that only “sudden geological events” are considered as factors that undermine the protection of the properties. Furthermore, it is well known that slow-kinematic phenomena can also threaten cultural and natural heritage. This study proposes a satellite InSAR-based procedure to identify and monitor the temporal and spatial evolution of ground deformation related to slow-kinematic geohazards (slow-moving landslides and ground-subsidence). This procedure, applied in this work on the Tuscany Region (Italy), simplify the InSAR products interpretation, making them easily exploitable by the local WHS managers for long-term geohazards monitoring and conservation strategies. These activities, thanks to the main characteristics of the recent Sentinel-1 data (short revisit time, free availability without any restrictions and worldwide coverage), can be defined for each UNESCO site of the world. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Tracking Human-Induced Landscape Disturbance at the Nasca Lines UNESCO World Heritage Site in Peru with COSMO-SkyMed InSAR
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10040572 - 08 Apr 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The “Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa” in Peru are among the most well-known UNESCO World Heritage Sites globally, and an exemplar of site where heritage assets cannot be separated from their natural and anthropogenic environment. The site is exposed to interactions [...] Read more.
The “Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa” in Peru are among the most well-known UNESCO World Heritage Sites globally, and an exemplar of site where heritage assets cannot be separated from their natural and anthropogenic environment. The site is exposed to interactions with natural processes, as well as human presence. In this work, 3-m resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) StripMap HIMAGE HH-polarised scenes acquired by the X-band COSMO-SkyMed constellation are exploited to track two events of human-induced landscape disturbance that occurred in December 2014 and January 2018. Pre-, cross-, and post-event interferometric SAR (InSAR) pairs characterised by small temporal and normal baselines allow the detection of temporal decorrelation associated with the two events, the extent and time reference of which match with online photographic and video evidence, published literature, web news, and press releases by the Ministry of Culture in Peru. Further elements enhancing the understanding of the 2018 event come from 10-m resolution Sentinel-2B satellite data that reveal the occurrence of apparent changes of surface reflectance due to uncovering of the light grey-yellow clay underneath the darker pebble constituting the fragile surface of the Pampa de Jumana. This scientific study confirms that SAR imagery archives, such as those being built by COSMO-SkyMed for Nasca, prove valuable for the retrospective analysis and digital recording of human-induced landscape disturbance events from space. These archives therefore act as essential sources of geospatial information on the conservation history of heritage sites and assets. Full article
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