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**Ivana Zinno, Daniele Riccio Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Via Claudio 21, 80125, Napoli, Italy
**

{ivana.zinno, daniele.riccio}@unina.it

ABSTRACT In this paper an innovative model that describes the SAR imaging process of natural scenes is presented. It is completely fractal-based. In the hypothesis of small slope regime of the surface, we evaluate here, in closed form, the Power Spectrum Density of the SAR image. The proposed model effectively accounts for the effect of finite sensor resolutions and for the peculiarity of SAR acquisition geometry. Inverting this complete direct model it is possible to retrieve the fractal dimension of the observed surface. Significant experimental results, that validate the theoretical conclusions, are also shown. I. INTRODUCTION The analysis of SAR images of natural surfaces is becoming more and more relevant especially because of the significant development of remote sensing systems in the last few years. As a matter of fact, high resolution data are currently available that allows us to work in an innovative way both on rural areas and on urban ones. Through low resolution images it is only possible to characterize the observed scene in large scale; on the contrary the current available data permits us, to extract value added information, with a precise physical meaning, that can be very useful for a wide range of applications. To take advantage of this potential and to retrieve in a reliable way the information necessary for such applications, it is fundamental to have a complete direct analytical model of the SAR imaging process of natural surfaces. Until such a model is reliable, both the observed scene (geometrical model) and its interaction with signal transmitted from the sensor (electromagnetic model) must be described in an adequate way. In this work a complete analytical model for SAR images of natural scenes is shown. Regarding the geometrical problem, we use the fractal model fBm (fractional Brownian model) that completely describes, with a minimum number of parameters, the surface [1]. In fact, it is widely recognized in literature that the fractal geometry is the one that best describes natural surfaces [1]. Concerning the electromagnetic problem, it is fundamental to choose a model consistent with the geometric representation adopted for the observed surface. In literature there are appropriate fractal scattering models that provide the closed form

expressions of the field backscattered from a portion of a fBm surface [2]. Among such models, only for the sake of simplicity, we adopt the Small Perturbation Method (SPM). The treatment of the problem is made more complex by the particular acquisition geometry of the SAR system that shows significantly different behaviors in the two directions of range and azimuth. The SAR image is linked to the reflectivity of the scene. In particular, in the next section, we show that, if the slopes of the surface are small, the reflectivity turns out to be linearly dependent only on the partial derivative of the surface along the range direction. Then, after appropriately defining the derivative process of the fBm, we attain to a stochastic characterization of the reflectivity pattern, an so of the SAR image. We, in fact, provide the closed form expressions of the image two-dimensional autocorrelation and of the power spectral density of two cuts of the image along the range and the azimuth directions. The inversion of such a analytical model allows us to develop techniques for the estimation of significant parameters of the observed scene, starting from a single SAR image. Particularly, it is possible to retrieve the fractal dimension of the surface. In section IV, the presented theoretical results are validated through a software that processes a single SAR image, of known fractal parameters, obtained by the SARAS (SAR images simulator) [4], estimating its spectra, on range and azimuth cuts, through appropriate techniques. Furthermore, through a linear regression on the estimated spectrum of the range cut of the image, we retrieve the fractal dimension of the imaged fractal surface. This absolutely new result is the theoretical basis, absent so far, for many interesting applications; e.g. it allows us to accurately distinguish, from a single SAR image, man-made objects from rural areas, or gives the possibility to obtain a complete map of the fractal dimension of the observed scene. II. THE IMAGING MODEL The direct imaging model links the surface altitude and roughness as well as dielectric properties (inputs) to the SAR image (output). The SAR image, i, is a filtered version of the reflectivity function depending on the resolutions of the sensor:

ߨ ߨ ݅ሺ ݔᇱ , ݎᇱ ሻ = ඵ ߛሺݔ, ݎሻsinc ቂ ሺ ݔᇱ − ݔሻቃ sinc ቂ ሺ ݎᇱ − ݎሻቃ ݀ ݎ݀ݔሺ1ሻ ∆ݔ ∆ݎ

within the resolution cell) mean plane representing the surface. Then. ݍሻ = ܽ + ܽଵ ሺݔ. i. respectively. i.evaluated PSD of a ground-range cut of the Image: ܵ ൫݇௬ . in order to provide the stochastic characterization of the image. ߝ௬ ൯ = 2 ݏଶ ߝ௬ ିଵାଶு Γሺ1 + 2ܪሻ sinሺߨܪሻൣ1 − cos൫ห݇௬ หߝ௬ ൯൧ ଶ య ቀ శಹቁ మ √గ . The angle θ can be formally expressed as a function of the partial derivatives. Δy]. respectively. 2 ݏଶ ߬ ଶு ሺ3ሻ The two evaluated PSD show very different properties: in particular that of the ground-range cut permits an asymptotic formulation. ∆௬ ൯ = ݏଶ ∆ିଶ ௬ ቂห߬௫ + ሺ߬௬ + ∆௬ ሻ ห ு ଶ + ሺ߬ − ∆ ሻଶ ห − 2ห߬ ଶ + ߬ ଶ ห ൧. to take into account the non-differentiability of the fBm process. Hence. and ߬௫ . y) describes an isotropic fBm surface if.r) is the two-dimensional reflectivity pattern of the scene. The two-dimensional autocorrelation function of zp(x. ሺ8ሻ . whatever the chosen scattering model is. bandlimited) at the SAR resolution cell scales. THE GEOMETRICAL MODEL In order to describe natural surfaces.y) has been evaluated: ଶ ଶ ܴ௭ ൫߬௫ . it is fundamental to evaluate the characterization of the derivative of the surface along the ground-range direction. ߬௬ . a smoothed version of the original fBm process is introduced. we have to characterize the reflectivity. showing. related to the fractal dimension D (D = 3 – H). some general results can be obtained. the angle between the observation direction and the normal to the (local. The modulus of the reflectivity is proportional to the square root of the normalized radar cross section (NRCS). So the analytical form of the fGn (fractional Gaussian noise. to the two directions elected by the SAR sensor.e. So it is possible to carry out a Mc Laurin series expansion of the NRCS. to the first order. φ of support equal to [0. + ห߬௫ ௬ ௬ ௫ ௬ ு ு ሺ5ሻ The evaluation of the Power Spectrum Density of the image is analytically performed by Fourier Transforming the azimuth and ground range cuts of the two-dimensional autocorrelation function reported in Eq. ݕᇱ ሻ < ߞ ሽ ߬ = ඥሺ ݔ− ݔ′ሻଶ √2ߨ ߬ݏு 1 + ሺ ݕ− ݕᇱ ሻଶ න ିஶ ത wherein S0 and α are the spectral parameters [2]. ݕሻ − ݖሺ ݔᇱ . γ(x. where ∆x and Δy are the SAR resolutions in azimuth and ground range. y'. a power law behavior with a spectral slope that depend on the Hurst coefficient.H). turning out to be stationary. ߬௬ ൯ܴ௦ ቂ ሺ߬௫ − ߬௫ ሻቃ sinଶ ߠ ∆ݔ ߨ ܴ௦ ሺ߬ ᇱ − ߬௬ ሻ൨ ሺ2ሻ ∆ ݕsinଶ ߠ ௬ ܵሺ݇ሻ = ܵ ݇ ିఈ (4) where we consider the slant/ground range conversion.where x and r represent azimuth and slant-range.e.e. respectively. the PSD of a ground-range cut of the image allows us to perform linear regression techniques for the retrieving of the value of H of the observed surface. of the surface along. H: ܵ ൫݇௬ ൯ = ݏଶ ߁ሺ1 + 2ܪሻ݊݁ݏሺߨܪሻ ห݇௬ ห 1 ଶுିଵ +2Γሺ1 + 2ܪሻ sinሺߨܪሻ ሺିுሻ ሺ|ೣ|ఌ ሻభశమಹ ଵ ൨. γ: in particular we write the image autocorrelation function in terms of the reflectivity autocorrelation function as follows: ܴ ൫߬௫ ′.y) comes out to be expressible as a finite difference. + ሺ7ሻ where H is the Hurst coefficient (0 < H < 1). that. application to SAR images. The two-dimensional stochastic process z(x. which is characterized through the pdf of its increments [1]. p: |ߛሺݔ. III. ߬௬ are the spatial lags in the ground range and azimuth directions. it satisfies the following relation: ҧ = ܲݎሼݖሺݔ.. x'. in a sufficiently low range of frequencies. p(x. λ being the electromagnetic wavelength and x and r are the azimuth and slant-range SAR geometric resolutions.evaluated PSD of an azimuth cut of the Image: ܵ ൫݇௫ . the formal derivative process of the fBm [3]) depends on the specific bandlimiting procedure applied to the stochastic process. We calculate a filtered version of the original surface. ߝ௬ ൯ = ݏଶ ߝ௬ ିଵାଶு ൦ భ భ ൫|ೣ |ఌ ൯ భ ಹశమ శಹ ሺ|ೖೣ |ഄ ሻమ ൫ห݇௬ หߝ௬ ൯ 1 ଵାଶு . In Sect. obtained multiplying it by a twicedifferentiable test function. ݕሻ + ሺ.The power density spectrum of the isotropic twodimensional fBm process exhibits a power-law behavior [2]: Hence.. range and azimuth. y.. turns out to be linearly dependent only on the range derivative. ∆x]×[0. Actually. to obtain the reflectivity characterization. In our case this operation is not only convenient from an analytical point of view. The choice of the latter should be possibly addressed consistently with choosing fractal models to describe the natural surfaces under survey. ߬௬ ′൯ = 1 ߨ ᇱ ඵ ݀߬௫ ݀߬௬ ܴఊ ൫߬௫ . ݕሻ| ∝ ඥߪ ሺ. respectively. The range derivative process zp(x.y). Anyhow. in the small slope regime. The NRCS is linked to the surface slope via the local incidence angle θ. respectively. requires to operate on stochastic processes sampled (i. we use the regular stochastic fBm process.y) and q(x. As a matter of fact. for every x. ݍሻ ሺ2ሻ where ܽ and ܽଵ are the coefficients of the McLaurin series expansion and depend on the specific scattering model that is adopted. ሺ6ሻ ݁ ݔቆ− ߞଶ ቇ ݀ߞ. II we have shown that the SAR image involves use of the ground-range derivative of the sensed surface.(5): . but also meaningful from a physical one. and s is the standard deviation of surface increments at unitary distance measured in m(1 .

Riccio. we estimate the PSD's on cuts along the ground-range and the azimuth directions. 2007. Van Ness. pp. no.IV. H. Mandelbrot and J. In Fig. respectively). “Special problems in the estimation of power-law spectra as applied to topographical modeling”. [3] B. Migliaccio. 10. IEEE Trans. the continue black lines represents the behavior of the PSD's of the simulated images and the black broken line stands for the respective theoretical behavior. W. July 1994. we use SAR images simulated giving to the SARAS simulator [4] a digital elevation model (DEM) of a fractal surface of known parameters (Fig. EXPERIMENTAL SETUP To validate the theoretical results shown in the previous sections. Jan.2) and applying . Schirinzi. USA. W.3: Theoretical value of H = 0. Franceschetti. Austin.1 m1-H. “Fractional Brownian motions. And. New York: Freeman. evaluating the PSD of a range cut of the surface is possible to retrieve the fractal dimension of the observed surface. 3. Riccio. obtained carrying out a linear regression on the estimated spectra shown in Fig. through appropriate filtering and estimation techniques (Capon estimator [5]). no.. pp. 5: Theoretical and Etimated PSD's of an azimuth cut of the SAR image of a surface with fractal parameters: s = 0. in the hypothesis of small slope regime of the surface. H = 0. "SARAS: a SAR Raw Signal Simulator".7.1 m1-H. IEEE Trans. [2] G.89 Fig.1]) [2].3.8). estimated one: H = 0. Remote Sens. D. Fig. 1983. 32. Mandelbrot. Geosci.7 Fig 3.. Wakefield.1 m1-H. 110-123. of the observed surface can be retrieved. Scattering. pp. as scattering model. 5 the external grey lines bound the range in which a surface is considered fractal (fractal dimension H∈[0. Performing the analytical inversion of the asymptotic expression of the PSD of the range cut of the image (Eq.B. M. Franceschetti. England. G. there is a very good agreement between theoretical and estimated spectra. G. H. 928-939. SIAM Rev. 1. estimated one: H = 0. The Fractal Geometry of Nature. vol. vol. A.422-437. The estimated values of H.73 Fig.7. H = 0. D. [4] G. fractional noises and applications”. Natural Surfaces and Fractals.9. the fractal SPM (Small Perturbation Method) [2]. and so the fractal dimension. 4.4: Theoretical and Etimated PSD's of a range cut of the SAR image .9 Fig. In conclusion. [5] T. 1. Remote Sens. 1: Digital Elevation Model of a surface with fractal parameters s = 0.1992. Burlington (MA).4 (H=0. 2: Digital Elevation Model of a surface with fractal parameters s = 0.4. B.9 REFERENCES [1] B. 1968. no. Starting from these images.. H=0. are reported in the captions. 4. Fig. the Hurst coefficient. H = 0. Academic Press.4: Theoretical value of H = 0. vol.9. 30. Geosci.

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FRACTAL MODELS FOR SAR IMAGES OF NATURAL SURFACE

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