​Imaging Modes

RADARSAT-2 is the most flexible, highest-capacity commercial SAR sensor, and provides customers concerned with disaster management applications with a range of SAR imagery options. Whether you need high-resolution imagery or are more concerned with covering large areas, MDA and RADARSAT-2 will deliver the imagery you need to respond when an event occurs.

RADARSAT-2 has a number of different imaging modes that are ideally suited to customers that need to respond when an event occurs. Rapid tasking and image acquisition are likely to be the most import considerations when acquiring images after an event. RADARSAT-2 is an incredibly flexible satellite, and there are a number of imaging modes that can be considered for disaster management applications.


Disaster Wide

POLARIZATION: Single or Dual

The Wide Swath mode allows imaging of wider swaths than Standard mode, but at the expense of slightly coarser spatial resolution. The Wide swath beams collectively span a total incidence angle range from 20 degrees to 45 degrees.

The Wide mode is used for disaster management applications where wide area coverage is required to provide insight into the impact of regional-scale events. The wide area coverage offsets the moderate resolution of the Wide mode.



POLARIZATION: Single or Dual

The Standard mode allows imaging over a wide range of incidence angles with a set of image quality characteristics which provides a balance between fine resolution and wide coverage, and between spatial and radiometric resolutions. The nominal incidence angle range covered by the full set of beams is 20 degrees to 52 degrees.

The Standard mode has long been a staple for flood monitoring over large areas. It is used by many national disaster response organizations to monitor regional flooding over long periods of time.

Multi-Look Fine

Disaster Multi-look Fine

SWATH WIDTH: 50 km (90 km for Wide Multi-Look Fine)

The Multi-Look Fine Resolution mode covers the same swaths as the Fine Resolution mode. Products with multiple looks in range and azimuth are generated at approximately the same spatial resolution as Fine Resolution mode products, but with multiple looks and therefore improved radiometric resolution. Single look products are generated at finer spatial resolutions than Fine Resolution mode products. In order to obtain the multiple looks without a reduction in swath width, this beam mode operates with higher data acquisition rates and noise levels than Fine Resolution mode. Like in the Fine mode, the incidence angle range is from 30 to 50 degrees, and additional near and/or far range swath positioning choices are available to provide additional overlap.

The Multi-Look Fine mode is also available in a Wide Multi-Look Fine variant that extends the scene size to 90 kilometres x 50 kilometres. The additional coverage preserves the same spatial and radiometric resolution, but at the expense of higher data compression ratios (which leads to higher signal-dependent noise levels).

Multi-Look Fine is used for Digital Elevation Model (DEM) production that can be a key component to disaster management programs.

The imaging modes identified in this section are a representative sample of the 20 imaging modes available on RADARSAT-2, and have been highlighted for their applicability to disaster management applications. A complete listing of all the RADARSAT-2 beam modes and their specifications, are available in the Satellites section of this site.

Not sure these modes give you what you need? Speak with one of our Customer Service representatives, and we'll show you how MDA and RADARSAT-2 can address your geospatial requirements.