The Role of Resolution in the Estimation of Fractal Dimension Maps From SAR Data

Abstract

This work is aimed at investigating the role of resolution in fractal dimension map estimation, analyzing the role of the different surface spatial scales involved in the considered estimation process. The study is performed using a data set of actual Cosmo/SkyMed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images relevant to two different areas, the region of Bidi in Burkina Faso and the city of Naples in Italy, acquired in stripmap and enhanced spotlight modes. The behavior of fractal dimension maps in the presence of areas with distinctive characteristics from the viewpoint of land-cover and surface features is discussed. Significant differences among the estimated maps are obtained in the presence of fine textural details, which significantly affect the fractal dimension estimation for the higher resolution spotlight images. The obtained results show that if we are interested in obtaining a reliable estimate of the fractal dimension of the observed natural scene, stripmap images should be chosen in view of both economic and computational considerations. In turn, the combination of fractal dimension maps obtained from stripmap and spotlight images can be used to identify areas on the scene presenting non-fractal behavior (e.g., urban areas). Along this guideline, a simple example of stripmap-spotlight data fusion is also presented.

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