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Thanks to the unique characteristics of its radar sensors, MetaSensing is able to offer cost-effective topographic mapping services covering a wide range of applications. We offer fully equipped processing tools and analysis expertise for getting, after signal processing, the best output from the SAR airborne acquisitions. MetaSensing software and analysts completely process the acquired data and provide the customer with cartographic information.

MetaSensing radar can monitor structures such as dams, harbours, canals and buildings, leading to maps for urban planning, territory surveillance and cadastral updating. Several flights over the same location can spot changes between pictures, revealing ground movements that could affect structures. Vegetation classification, bathymetry retrieval and sea pollution monitoring are just a few additional examples of what MetaSensing can offer you.

Owing to their compact size, light weight and low power consumption, MetaSensing SAR sensors do not draw any constraint on the choice of the mounting aircraft platform.  There is no need for big and expensive aircraft for our customers’ radar mapping campaigns! Accurate measurements can be carried out with our sensors, employing any small and readily available aircraft.

An example of airborne campaigns is the SnowSAR project comissioned to MetaSensing from ESA (European Space Agency) in the framework of its Earth Observation Envelope programme (EOEP). SnowSAR, a dual frequency (X- and Ku-band), dual polarization mini-SAR airborne system was developed to mimic the Earth Explorer’s candidate CoReH20 satellite radar. During recent winter seasons  MetaSensing has operated the sensor on different aircraft (like Cessna 208, Piper PA 32R etc.) and in different countries like Finland, Austria, Canada and United States. Thousands of SnowSAR snow and ice-images are currently being produced by MetaSensing, and those will be analysed by some of the world’s most important snow research bodies.

Digital Surface Models (DSMs) and Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) can be obtained by means of SAR processing and are numerical representation of the altimetric content of a selected region of the Earth surface. DSMs include terrain topography as well as features present on the surface like forest and/or buildings. In contrast with DSMs, DTMs are obtained by filtering out vegetation and all types of infrastructures in order to depict only the topographic content of the bare surface.

Single DSMs can be generated even with one data acquisition by deploying two antennas, separated by a convenient  distance, on a moving platform (i.e.: aircraft). However, change detection in the region of interest can be evaluated only trough time series of data acquisitions. These models can be used in civil engineering, for the construction of roads or bridges, in urban planning, geodesy, surveying and geography. They can also be used for hydrological prediction like water flow path ways or for the prediction of the soil moisture distribution.

Deformation maps are reliable and accurate maps obtained as result of the advanced processing of time series of SAR images (DInSAR processing) acquired over the same scene. They represent the displacement field of the movements occurring on the surface. Depending on the signal wavelength, they can reach precision up to millimeters. On a large scale they can be used for landslides and subsidence analysis, for the generation of hazard maps. On a smaller scale the can be employed for monitoring of construction sites, infrastructures or to evaluate buildings stability

Mapping the surface and underlying  layers of snow and ice

Snowmelt occupies a main role in the water cycle and it is undeniable that natural and man-made global change is accelerating the melting process of snow and ice. It is thus increasingly important to be able to monitor such elements. With this purpose the European Space Agency commissioned to MetaSensing the design and operation of a radar sensor able to mimic the satellite radar data of CoReH2O satellite.

Since 2010 MetaSensing has been busy designing, assembling, testing and operating the SnowSAR sensor. This dual frequency (X- and Ku-band) and dual polarization miniSAR airborne system is a unique tool able to deliver high spatial and radiometric resolution, as proved in Finland, Austria, Canada and USA during many different campaigns.

The acquired data have been processed according to the CoReH2O specification providing accurate information regarding ice and snow, such as the Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) which indicates the amount of water contained within the snowpack and is a crucial factor in the CoReH2O’s global snow and ice research.
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