Applications like real time on-board processed SAR image transmission for ships, ice or oil slick monitoring and detection, and also ground segment applications require a new philosophy for data representation and compression. This also includes high speed and high resolution data dissemination as for example monitoring of floodings, where the transmission in near real time of high resolution data via Internet could be a major improvement on mission level. Conventional SAR quicklook images do not satisfy the spatial resolution requirements for such applications. As an alternative, we propose a new visual epitome based on a wavelet feature coding technique for SAR images in order to preserve the spatial resolution and to achieve high compression factors. Combining data compression, despeckling, and image restoration allows us to reach compression rates of up to about 850, thus permitting easy storage in centralized archives as well as rapid dissemination over standard networks. After decompression at the user site, the quality of the quicklook images permit the visual inspection and analysis of all spatially important image details. This becomes apparent when comparing conventional multilook quicklook images with wavelet feature coded decompressed counterparts. Typical examples will be demonstrated. Due to the extremely high compression rates, the radiometric quality of the quicklook images is degraded. However, the use of wavelet multiresolution representation of the images bears the additional potential of progressive transmission that is stopped interactively when an acceptable level of radiometric fidelity is reached. The decompression effort is small, robust algorithms are available and further compression optimizations are being investigated.