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Remote sensing and imagery intelligence: Looking back in terms of research and cooperation

On Friday, 10 February 2023, armasuisse Science and Technology organised the annual review of the research projects SAR and the hyperspectral sensory analysis of the University of Zurich. This was an internal DDPS event. Around 30 specialists were present and used the opportunity to exchange ideas.

20.02.2023 | Dr. Peter Wellig, specialist area Research Management and Operations Research, competence sector Science and Technology

Radar image of the Gösgen nuclear power plant
Detail of an imaging radar image taking at a frequency of 35 gigahertz with the research sensor MIRANDA35 in August 2022. The shadow of the cooling tower is created by the position of the sensor, in other words, the radar sensor illuminates the scene laterally from above. Anything that is not directly visible through the radar sensor, such as the scene behind the cooling tower, does not reflect any radar waves back. These areas are depicted dark in the radar image, similar to the sun’s shadow in a photo. In addition, numerous image artefacts were created by the reflections of the radar waves.

The latest findings and activities of the research projects were presented internally at the annual review. This promotes knowledge sharing within the department and makes an important contribution to cooperation.

SAR stands for Synthetic Aperture Radar. SAR devices produce a two-dimensional radar image of the earth’s surface, even with clouds. The imaging radar device thus emits radar radiation and, using complex algorithms, converts the radiation reflected by the target into an almost photographic image. This makes it possible for a human being to interpret the images. However, it requires a good understanding of the scattering mechanisms of radar waves. For this purpose, experts from armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T) meet every year with their research partners to discuss the current status and to look back on the projects that have been implemented.

Thus 30 participants from the DDPS and the University of Zurich attended the annual review of the research projects SAR and hyperspectral sensory analysis in Thun on 10 February. Research Program Manager Peter Wellig, armasuisse Science and Technology, opened the conference with a welcome address. Following this, researchers from the Remote Sensing Laboratories of the University of Zurich presented the results of their activities last year. They were thus able to report on experiments on drones and planes with radar and hyperspectral research sensors. Interest was shown, for example, in the interpretation of the radar image of the Gösgen nuclear power plant. The radar image of the cooling tower contains numerous image artefacts which have been created by multiple reflections of the radar waves. At the end of the conference, the participants shared their insights and impressions over a stand-up lunch.

For all those present, these annual and face-to-face meetings are extremely important, as they consolidate mutual exchange and promote corporation.

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