Interferometric processing workflow with ALOS-2 L1.1 SLC data

Hi there,

I am wondering if SNAP could handle ALOS-2 L1.1 SLC data for interferometry.
If so, could someone share some tutorials or offer the processing workflow?
Thanks in advance.

Best,
Hillgrey

These are the right steps of ALOS-PALSAR coregistration and creating interferogram,

1- Select the HH or VH, or both polarization
2- Coregistration (one pair and one stack with multiple images)
3- ALOS Deskewing (only for ALOS1), NO NEEDED TO ALOS2.
4- Interferogram Formation
5- Topographic Phase Removal (SRTM 1sec)
6- Coherence Estimation
7- Goldstein Phase Filter (on Ifg)
8- Multilook
9-Unwrapping

I edited this post according to the @EJFielding

"The ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 data does not require deskewing as it is processed differently from ALOS PALSAR. The deskewing is only necessary for ALOS1. "

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Hi falahfakhri,

Thanks for your reply. I am following your instruction, but I find 2 problems:

1: For step-3, my ALOS-2 data are obtained from JAXA (AUIG2 ALOS-2 / ALOS User Interface Gateway), when I try to do ALOS Deskewing to the coregistrated stack, there is an error saying “Deskewing is only for ALOS-1 data”.

2: For step-6 and 7, should Topographic Phase Removal be done before Filtering? And if multilook is needed, the sequence should be “Topographic Phase Removal-Multilook-Goldstein Phase Filtering”?

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Did you upgrade to SNAP v.7.0 , if yes, that’s mean SNSP 7.0 doesn’t support ALOS2, but these are the ALOS, could be imported in SNAP,

Could be done alternately, because the G. phase F. is only for visual enhancement, however step 7. should be done to remove the topo. phase,

Yes, it could be STEP 8. Multilooking then the STEP 9. Unwrapping

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The ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 data does not require deskewing as it is processed differently from ALOS PALSAR. The deskewing is only necessary for ALOS.

Do you have ALOS-2 data from one of the stripmap modes (SM1, SM2, or SM3) or from the ScanSAR modes (WD1)? As far as I know, SNAP can only process the stripmap data.

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Yes, stripmap. Thanks for your reminding.

Since I have searched in this forum and found no topics that demonstrate a clear workflow for ALOS-2 SLC stripmap data interferometric processing, I think we should make it clearer here about the processing workflow with ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 L1.1 SLC stripmap images, using SNAP. I really hope this topic could end with a clear and common agreement that would help others handling ALOS-2 stripmap interferometry by SNAP.

Should it be like this?
(1) Open product (import ALOS-2 CEOS file)
(2) Coregistration
(3) Interferogram Formation
(4) Coherence Estimation
(5) Topographic Phase Removal (SRTM 1sec)
(6) Multilook
(7) Goldstein Phase Filtering
(8) Snaphu export

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Please take a look at the following link for SAR Interferometry using Alos2 , might be helpful

Source: link.springer.com/article/10.1186%2Fs40623-016-0394-4

Your workflow looks good to me. It is better to do the topographic phase removal before multilook and filtering. You might want to remove the topographic phase before the coherence estimation, but I don’t think it will make much difference because ALOS-2 satellite has small baselines, unlike ALOS satellite.

I would recommend doing the topographic phase removal after the interferogram formation. The ALOS satellite had large variations of baseline, so it is important to remove the topographic phase as early as possible in the processing.

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@hillgrey according to @EJFielding comments , the ALOS2 Single Interferogram formation and unwrapping

1- Open product (import ALOS-2 CEOS file)
2- Coregistration
3- Interferogram Formation
4- Topographic Phase Removal (SRTM 1sec)
5- Coherence Estimation
6- Goldstein Phase Filtering
7- Multilook
8- Snaphu export and import (Phase unwrapping)

Thank @EJFielding and @falahfakhri for the considerations and recommendations on this topic.

I would like to follow the workflow and process a co-seismic interferometric data pair. I will post my results here asap:grinning:

Hello, I am new to using the step forum and I am not experienced in InSAR processing.
I am using SNAP 8.0 with all updates.
My question is also about InSAR processing a single pair of ALOS-2 L1.1 SLC images.
The images are ALOS-2 stripmode (SM) collected on ascending paths on 16 Jan 2018 an 27 March 2018 with a 6.5 m perpendicular baseline. The images are of a mountainous, forested Pacific island. I read a few earlier posts concerning ALOS InSAR processing and from those changed some processing inputs. Processing steps followed
1- Open product (import ALOS-2 CEOS file),
2- Coregistration using defaults except for “bicubic_interpolation” in the stack creation and 2000, 10000, 20000 gcp’s in the cross-correlation. Using 2000 gcps, the two images were not aligned having a visible shift. Following an earlier post the gcp’s to were increased to 10000 then 20000. the 10000 and 20000 looked similar.
3- Interferogram Formation “flat earth degree” was changed to 8 and “orbit interpolation degree” to 5.
4- Topographic Phase Removal used defaults and SRTM 1sec.The change was very slight.
5-I tried to run the Coherence Estimation but there was a very quick message flash that couldn’t be read and then nothing happened.
Below is shown the coregistration alignment, master in red, slv in green, within the full scene, and zoomed into the island. Next is the phase and the coherence in the “interferogram formation” without subtracting topographic phase, and the topographic phase removal.
My questions are (1) does the alignment look reasonable? (2) why is the coherence so low (mostly <0.3) and patchy? and (3) in “Cross-correlation” there is an option for “Coherence based registration.” Should that be used? (4) I am wondering if alignment is the cause. Can the image be subset pre Coregistration? Should that help?
thank you for any help!

  1. if the yellow part is the island, yes. Althouth all areas outside the island drastically changed between both acquisitions.
  2. The temporal difference is quite long and these areas probably undergo much changes. Where exactly is your study area located? What is the surface cover of the island (and the areas outside)? You can only retrieve high coherence and usable phase information from coherent scattering. If the area is affected by growing vegetation or inundation, InSAR becomes rather ineffective.
  3. The type of coregistration will only affect the coherence if it is really bad. Images can be well coregistered and still have low coherence because of temporal decorrelation. So you can try another method, but it is unlikely to increase your quality. The black line however looks suspicious. Please try nearest neighbor resampling of the slave images instead of bicubic.
  4. The accuracy of coregistration has limited impact on the coherence. As I said, you can try a different resampling to keep the values as original as possible, but changes in surface scattering mechanisms are the real problem, I’m afraid.

thank you ABraun for your reply, information and suggestions

The temporal difference is quite long and these areas probably undergo much changes.
–my perception was that a 3-months time difference was within the range of L-band providing a workable InSAR product.

Where exactly is your study area located? What is the surface cover of the island (and the areas outside)?
—its a mountainous island in the Pacific (Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia). it is heavily forested, however, from my scanning of the literature, I was thinking L-band and a low baseline could still provide reasonable coherence. In the large part, the forest should be mature and unchanged. The outside area is ocean.

So you can try another method, but it is unlikely to increase your quality. The black line however looks suspicious. Please try nearest neighbor resampling of the slave images instead of bicubic
— thanks, I did change to nearest neighbor without changing any of the other parameters. The relatively higher coherence extents decreased, overall the product quality decreased.

it is true that L-band is less sensitive to temporal decorrelation compared to X-band or C-band, but in cases of dense vegetation you will still not retrieve coherent scattering when images are several days (or even weeks) apart. It was shown in studies that decorrelation occurs already when canopies move by wind. So repeat pass differential interferometry over forest is nearly impossible.

Can you check if PALSAR-2 L1.1 SLC data is focused to zero-doppler? If not, you will need to deskew the data as with PALSAR-1 L1.1.

mengdahl, thank you for your suggestion. I am not sure how to check the image file for being focused to zero-doppler.

From documentation by the satellite operator. Or you could just process the data as PALSAR-1 data should be aband d see what happens. I would guess deskewing might since the coherence looked so weird.

mengdahl, sorry for taking so long to get back. I did import the two ALOS-2 scenes as ALOS PALSAR as you suggested. Did the coregistration, could not Deskew the coregistered images (the procedure would not accept ALOS-2), and created the interferometric product. although there were differences compared to the earlier results, the coherence was low and phase still completely without pattern. I did not see a d band. thanks for the suggestion.

@jun_lu would you know if PALSAR-2 SLCs require deskewing or not?

@elijah Do you have access to another InSAR pair to see whether something is wrong with the current one?

It appears that InSAR with ALOS-2 was complicated at least during earlier times during the mission.