Subsidence detection by TerraSAR-X interferometry on a network of natural persistent scatterers and artificial corner reflectors

Bing Yu, Guoxiang Liu, Zhilin Li, Rui Zhang, Hongguo Jia, Xiaowen Wang, Guolin Cai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The German satellite TerraSAR-X (TSX) is able to provide high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images for mapping surface deformation by the persistent scatterer interferometry (PSI) technique. To extend the application of PSI in detecting subsidence in areas with frequent surface changes, this paper presents a method of TSX PSI on a network of natural persistent scatterers (NPSs) and artificial corner reflectors (CRs) deployed on site. We select a suburban area of southwest Tianjin (China) as the testing site where 16 CRs and 10 leveling points (LPs) are deployed, and utilize 13 TSX images collected over this area between 2009 and 2010 to extract subsidence by the method proposed. Two types of CRs are set around the fishponds and crop parcels. 6 CRs are the conventional ones, i.e., fixed CRs (FCRs), while 10 CRs are the newly-designed ones, i.e., so-called portable CRs (PCRs) with capability of repeatable installation. The numerical analysis shows that the PCRs have the higher temporal stability of radar backscattering than the FCRs, and both of them are better than the NPSs in performance of radar reflectivity. The comparison with the leveling data at the CRs and LPs indicates that the subsidence measurements derived by the TSX PSI method can reach up to a millimeter level accuracy. This demonstrates that the TSX PSI method based on a network of NPSs and CRs is useful for detecting land subsidence in cultivated lands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-136
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Geosciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial corner reflector
  • Natural persistent scatterer
  • PS interferometry
  • Subsidence detection
  • TerraSAR-X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computers in Earth Sciences

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