ArcGIS Pro

Demystifying SAR Satellite Data in ArcGIS Pro: RADARSAT-2

If you are a GIS analyst, researcher, student, or curious about Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite imaging and want to explore the technical capabilities of RADARSAT-2 satellite technology, then you have come to the right place! This article will answer questions such as “Who provides RADARSAT-2 data?”, “What SAR products are supported in ArcGIS Pro?” and “How does the ArcGIS Pro Synthetic Aperture Radar toolset support RADARSAT-2 SAR satellite data?”. This article is part of a blog series on sensor support in ArcGIS Pro, so if you are wondering about other supported sensors, see the related content at the bottom of the page for more!

Who provides RADARSAT-2 data?

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is responsible for launching and providing RCM. The CSA is responsible for Canada’s space program. They focus on various aspects of space exploration, research, and technology development. The CSA works on satellite missions, space science research, Earth observation, communication technologies, and international collaborations. RADARSAT-2 is an MDA and CSA joint SAR mission. Both the RCM and the RADARSAT-2 mission play a crucial role in Canada’s space program and contribute to our understanding of Earth’s environment. This data is made available to the public through the EODMS (Earth Observation Data Management System).

What SAR products are supported in ArcGIS Pro?

Many SAR sensors are available and supported as raster types in ArcGIS Pro and each has various products and polarizations.

The graphic gives a visual representation of the coverage area of each RADARSAT-2 imaging mode along the satellite ground track, as well as the satellite velocity vector. The beam modes are shown in the following order from left to right: Spotlight; Ultra-Fine; Wide Ultra-Fine; Extra-Fine; Multi-Look Fine; Wide Multi-Look Fine; Fine; Wide Fine; Fine Quad-Pol; Wide Fine Quad-Pol; Standard Quad-Pol; Wide Standard Quad-Pol; Standard; Extended Low; Wide; Extended High; Ship Detection; ScanSAR Narrow; Ocean Surveillance; ScanSAR Wide (Credit: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA)).

To learn more about RADARSAT-2, visit the CSA or MDA website.

How does the ArcGIS Pro Synthetic Aperture Radar toolset support RCM and RS2 data?

Users can access the ArcGIS Pro Synthetic Aperture Radar toolset with the Image Analyst license. ArcGIS Pro treats the supported SAR sensor data as a raster layer with radar properties and capabilities; the support level depends on the sensor. It’s good to note that once the dataset has been processed by a tool outside the Synthetic Aperture Radar toolset, it is no longer considered a radar layer.

The table below lists the geoprocessing tools available for RCM and RS2 data.

Apply Radiometric Calibration

Apply Radiometric Terrain Flattening Despeckle Apply Geometric Terrain Correction Convert SAR Units Multilook Create Color Composite


If you haven’t read “Simple steps to add SAR satellite data to your ArcGIS Pro map”, it might be worth a virtual page turn to learn more about SAR sensorsSAR productsSAR raster products, and SAR raster types. Also, visit this StoryMap about SAR satellite data

About the author

Hello, World! Elizabeth here to share my world with the world one map at a time! I am a Raster Product Engineer with the Imagery & Remote Sensing team. I focus and work on UX/UI design and development of RADAR & SAR based capabilities at Esri. My education is in geophysics and my thesis work centered around understanding induced earthquake occurrences using seismic data and satellite imagery. As an advocate for science communication, I enjoy bridging the gap between science and design — combining my technical knowledge with my keen eye for design to create beautiful science.

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