AIM4X - Advanced INSAR Methods for TanDEM-X

The AIM4X project exploits the innovative capabilities of recent high-resolution SAR and radar altimeter missions.

Short Description

The German TanDEM-X and the Italian COSMO-SkyMed missions are for the first time providing very high resolution SAR image data acquired in an optimized configuration for generating elevation information using SAR interferometry.

Additionally, the Synthetic Aperture Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL) operating on board the ESA Earth Explorer mission Cryosat-2 provides profiles of precise vertical measurements of the Earth’s surface enabling an intercomparison and validation of surface elevation from different sources.

The focus of the project was put on SAR-based applications devoted to mapping and change detection in urban, forest and glacier regions.

The project objectives included:

  • Investigation of the interferometric mapping potential of high- resolution TanDEM-X and COSMO-SkyMed data for different environmental characteristics, like urban areas, forests or glacier regions
  • Synergistic use of alternative processing methods, like stereo- radargrammetry and interferometry, and complementary image information in the mapping context, like backscatter, coherence and phase information
  • Retrieval methods of multi-temporal 2D and 3D information in urban, rural as well as glaciated environments
  • Innovative change detection procedures based upon integrated use of 2D/3D approaches as well as their application and validation under various environmental conditions
  • Generation and validation of surface elevation and deformation products from TanDEM-X, TerraSAR-X and COSMO-SkyMed SAR data for glaciers
  • Development and testing of synergistic tools for CryoSat-2 radar altimeter data and TanDEM-X SAR data for deriving volume changes and mass balance of glaciers

The applicability and benefit of the change detection developments for GMES services was demonstrated for selected test cases, comprising change detection and mapping in urban, forest and glacier environments. Related scenarios were specified in accordance with related GMES projects, like G-MOSAIC, GEOLAND or REDD/REDDAF, and the WCRP Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) Project.

Project Partners


JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, DIGITAL - Institute for Information and Communication Technologies (JR-DIG) - Hannes Raggam


ENVEO Environmental Earth Observation IT GmbH - Thomas Nagler

Contact Address