Imagery data acquired by recently launched space borne SAR systems demonstrate a very good spatial resolution (e.g.
one meter with TerraSAR-X). The designs of such complex systems make it compulsory to do SAR end-to-end
simulations to optimize image quality (e.g. spatial and radiometric resolution, ambiguity suppression, dynamic range,
etc.). The most complex, critical and challenging modules have to be designed for the generation of SAR raw data and
SAR image generation, because the limits of computability and memory requirements are reached very quickly.
Moreover, the analysis of SAR images is a demanding task, because of their sensor specific effects. Therefore, a
simulation tool is under development to analyze realistic target features and make the scattering processes transparent to
With the method presented in this paper, SAR images of complex scattering bodies can be generated in a very efficient
way. This is done by directly localizing scattering centers and identifying their persistency along the synthetic aperture.
Thus the usual raw data generation and processing steps are dropped. The resulting images show a very good similarity
to reality, because scattering centers due to multipath propagation effects are also handled. Furthermore this toolkit
makes it possible to visualize the scattering centers and their evolution, by mapping them on the 3D structure of the
scattering body. This results in transparency of the whole scattering process, which greatly improves the understanding
of the image effects. The paper presents this new approach for the application of inverse SAR (ISAR) and first