Pixel-Wise MTInSAR Estimator for Integration of Coherent Point Selection and Unwrapped Phase Vector Recovery

Songbo Wu, Lei Zhang, Xiaoli Ding, Daniele Perissin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Coherent point (including persistent and distributed scatterers) selection and phase ambiguity treatment (or parameter estimation) are the key tasks involved in multitemporal InSAR (MTInSAR) algorithms, which are usually conducted separately with empirical thresholds. It is not rare to see that due to the discrepancies on threshold setting, even for the same MTInSAR technique with the same data sets, it will raise different (sometimes quite notable) results and affect the applicability of InSAR techniques. We propose here an integrated MTInSAR estimator that combines the coherent point selection and phase vector unwrapping into a single step. Essentially, the estimator aims to recover the unwrapped phase vector at coherent points. Therefore, it could serve as an alternative solution of spatial-temporal phase unwrapping problem. In the estimator, wrapped phase at all pixels in short baseline interferograms are taken as observations. Starting from the phase differences at arcs of a fully connected network of pixels, based on the residual analysis and spatial closure of phase triangularity, the estimator can detect and delete the arcs having unacceptable phase noise and phase ambiguities. By integrating the phase differences at the remained arcs, the unwrapped phase at coherent points in consecutive acquisition intervals can be obtained. Impressively, the estimator is immune to the bias raised by improper deformation model. The performance of the proposed estimator is evaluated via semisynthetic and real data tests. Considering that the phase enhancement algorithms (e.g., phase-linking and Extended Minimum Cost Flow-Small BAseline Subset) that can reconstruct high-quality wrapped phases are gaining popularity, the proposed estimator can also be implemented as a postprocessing module of these algorithms for retrieval of unwrapped phase vectors at coherent points.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8535033
Pages (from-to)2659-2668
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Ambiguity detection
  • coherent points detection multitemporal InSAR (MT-InSAR)
  • phase consistency
  • unwrapping phase recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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