In recent years, various attempts have been undertaken to obtain information about the structure of forested areas from multi-baseline synthetic aperture radar data. Tomographic processing of such data has been demonstrated for airborne L-band data but the quality of the focused tomographic images is limited by several factors. In particular, the common Fourierbased focusing methods are susceptible to irregular and sparse sampling, two problems, that are unavoidable in case of multi-pass, multi-baseline SAR data acquired by an airborne system. In this paper, a tomographic focusing method based on the time-domain back-projection algorithm is proposed, which maintains the geometric relationship between the original sensor positions and the imaged target and is therefore able to cope with irregular sampling without introducing any approximations with respect to the geometry. The tomographic focusing quality is assessed by analysing the impulse response of simulated point targets and an in-scene corner reflector. And, in particular, several tomographic slices of a volume representing a forested area are given. The respective P-band tomographic data set consisting of eleven flight tracks has been acquired by the airborne E-SAR sensor of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Keywords: E-SAR; P-band; Tomography; airborne SAR; multi-baseline interferometry; synthetic aperture radar (SAR); time-domain back-projection.