The current generation of SAR satellites such as TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X and COSMO-SkyMed provide resolutions below one meter, permitting the detailed analysis of urban areas while covering large zones. Furthermore, as they are deployable independently of daylight and weather, such remote sensing SAR data are particularly popular for purposes such as rapid damage assessment at building level after a natural disaster.
The purpose of our study is the investigation of techniques for the detection of changes based on one pre-event and one post-event SAR amplitude image. We provide a comparison of several methods for detecting changes in urban areas. Especially, changes at building locations are looked for. We analyzed two areas affected differently in detail. First, a suburban area of Paris, France, was considered due to changes caused by an urbanization project. Here, we have two TanDEM-X acquisitions available, before (November 4, 2012) and after (May 10, 2013) the changes.
Second, we investigated changes that happened in Kathmandu, Nepal, after the April 25, 2015 earthquake. For this analysis, we have two TerraSAR-X acquisitions, one before (October 13, 2013) and one immediately after (April 27, 2015) the earthquake. Both areas differ by the building types, the image resolution and the available reference, which makes it an interesting challenge.
In this paper, we compare six different methods for change detection. The investigated methods contain both standard criteria such as Log Ratio, Kullback-Leibler and the Difference of Entropies detector, and methods developed by the authors such as a Log Ratio combined with an Alternating Sequential Filter. All change detection results are presented and discussed by considering the available ground truth.