Lab 6: Change Detection from SAR Images

Before you Start:

Please look through Lecture 15 “Applications and Processing Recipes” before you get started with this lab. Those lectures will walk you through the concepts and workflows of change detection from SAR images. For further reading on change detection, please refer to the Further Reading tips on this website.

Goals of this Lab:

Due to their 24/7 observation capabilities, SAR data are relevant for a broad range of applications in environmental monitoring and emergency response. This lab will touch on three examples of how SAR can be used to analyze various kinds of changes on the ground. Examples will include (1) repeated images over Huntsville, AL (or Fairbanks, AK), for the detection of environmental change; (2) imagery over Altamira, Brazil, a stronghold for illegal logging in the Amazon rainforest; and (3) data over Livingston Parish, LA, documenting the 2016 Louisiana flooding event.

Processing of these data will be done in QGIS, a free GIS software package based on the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library GDAL. The emphasis of the lab will be put on simple, yet effective processing techniques. While this lab can be done within the cloud-based Virtual SAR Lab, which is available to you for this class, it might be more effective to process the data locally.

Required Data:

Please download the data needed for Section 4 of this lab from here!

Lab Instructions:

Please download the following lab instructions before starting the lab:


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