Data-level fusion of multilook inverse synthetic aperture radar images

Zhixi Li, Scott Papson, Ram M. Narayanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Although techniques for resolution enhancement in single-aspect radar imaging have made rapid progress in recent years, it does not necessarily imply that such enhanced images will improve target identification or recognition. However, when multiple looks of the same target from different aspects are obtained, the available knowledge increases, allowing more useful target information to be extracted. Physics-based image fusion techniques can be developed by processing the raw data collected from multiple inverse synthetic aperture radar sensors, even if these individual images are at different resolutions. We derive an appropriate data fusion rule to generate a composite image containing enhanced target shape characteristics for improved target recognition. The rule maps multiple data sets collected by multiple radars with different system parameters on to the same spatial-frequency space. The composite image can be reconstructed using the inverse 2-D Fourier transform over the separated multiple integration areas. An algorithm called the Matrix Fourier Transform is proposed to realize such a complicated integral. This algorithm can be regarded as an exact interpolation such that there is no information loss caused by data fusion. The rotation centers need to be carefully selected to properly register the multiple images before performing the fusion. A comparison of the image attribute rating curve between the fused image and the spatially averaged images quantifies the improvement in the detected target features. The technique shows considerable improvement over a simple spatial averaging algorithm and thereby enhances target recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1394-1406
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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