Monday, October 22, 2007

TerraSAR-X format support in GDAL

SAR data is so out of this world that they always have to invent new data formats to put it in and present it to the end-user. Terrasar-X is no exception, with a new satellite comes a new format. Thankfully DLR has ditched the ever so complicated and CEOS format , which is as not standard as it could be, with simple georeferenced tif files with XML metadata.

This approach is very similar to the data format for RADARSAT-2 , which is quite elegant and richly supported in GDAL (betraying the Canadian roots of the principal author). Now everything would be fine if RADARSAT-2 weren't more that 5years delayed and still scheduled to be launched in this year December.

For the complex data in all modes DLR invented a new format - COSAR. Specifications have been out for a while but no format support was worth building till TerraSAR-X won the race for next generation space-borne SAR sensor in X-Band. Now ironically, another Canadian has added TerraSAR-X format support to GDAL , using the specifications only, which works perfectly for stripmap cosar data. Time to move onto supporting the orbital information and slant-to-ground range conversion.
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