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Introduction - ALOS PALSAR

The Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) is a satellite developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and contains 3 sensor types:

    1. Panchromatic Remote sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM)

    2. Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type 2 (AVNIR-2)

    3. Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR)

Figure 1: Diagram of the ALOS Satellite and its on board sensors (source: World Heritage JAXA article about the ALOS satellite)

PALSAR is an active microwave sensor using L-band frequency and has various products of different resolutions and performance. PALSAR can be acquired in the day or night so increasing the temporal coverage of data for a particular spatial extent. PALSAR is also unaffected by cloud cover allowing a better coverage of satellite data for a cloudy country such as the UK. The products being offered in Landmap Kaia are:

    1. Fine Beam Single (FBS) Mode – Uses HH or VV polarization and has the highest spatial resolution than the other modes. This mode is offered with a spatial resolution of 10m.

    2. Fine Beam Dual (FBD) Mode – Uses HH and HV or VV and VH polarization and has a slightly lower resolution than Fine Beam Single Mode. This mode is offered with a spatial resolution of 16m

    3. Polarimetric (PLR) Mode – Uses all polarization modes, HH, HV, VV, and VH. The spatial resolution of this mode is the lowest of all other modes with a spatial resolution of 25m

Each of these products can be useful for many similar and different applications which require various different processing and analysis techniques which include, but are not limited to:

  • Coastal applications: monitoring of morphodynamics in coastal zones
  • Forestry applications: canopy structure and vegetation monitoring using a combination of PALSAR and optical data (e.g. AVNIR-2)
  • Agricultural applications: crop management and monitoring using a combination of PALSAR and optical data (e.g. AVNIR-2)
  • Hazard applications: fire scar detection and flood analysis
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