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Office for Coastal Management, 2024: 2002/2003 IfSAR data for Southern California: Radar Reflectance Image,

Item Identification

Title: 2002/2003 IfSAR data for Southern California: Radar Reflectance Image
Short Name: socal_ifsar_radar_reflectance
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2004

This metadata document describes the collection and processing of topographic elevation point data derived from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) measurement for coastal Southern California. Collection consists of topographic elevations from the California counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego, and the hydrologic units within those counties that drain to the Pacific Ocean along with offshore islands within the Channel Islands. The resulting data available for download, include the Digital Elevation Model (DEM), and the Raw magnitude radar reflectance data. Height Variance data is available upon request from NOAA OCM. This metadata record describes the orthorectified radar reflectance image.


The mission of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management is to provide coastal managers and partners with data and associated decision support tools to more effectively manage and preserve America's coastal zone. This project is a collaboration between the NOAA Office for Coastal Management and the Southern California Water Research Project which is charged with contributing to the scientific understanding of linkages among human activities, natural events, and the health of the Southern California coastal environment. This project uses Interferometric synthetic aperture radar to create accurate, detailed elevation models and associated imagery to support an array of studies and analyses that include hydrologic modeling, watershed delineation and water quality assessment. When this data is combined with other geographic data layers, NOAA OCM and SCCWRP will have the ability to communicate an understanding of the linkages between natural and human activities to decision makers and other stakeholders, and to develop strategies for protecting the ocean environment for this and future generations.



Supplemental Information:

A footprint of this data set may be viewed in Google Earth at:


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
ISO 19115 Topic Category
None Bathymetry/Topography
None Digital elevation model (DEM)
None DSM
None Elevation
None GeoSAR
None Height variance data
None IfSAR
None Interferometric
None Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR)
None Mapping
None Raw magnitude radar imagery (MAG)

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
Geographic Names Information System CA
Geographic Names Information System California
Geographic Names Information System Channel Islands
Geographic Names Information System Coastal
Geographic Names Information System Los Angeles County
Geographic Names Information System Orange county
Geographic Names Information System San Diego County
Geographic Names Information System Santa Barbara County
Geographic Names Information System United States of America (USA)
Geographic Names Information System Ventura County

Physical Location

Organization: Office for Coastal Management
City: Charleston
State/Province: SC

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Entity Attribute Overview:

Radar Reflectance value

Entity Attribute Detail Citation:


Distribution Liability:

Any conclusions drawn from analysis of this information are not the responsibility of NOAA, the Office for Coastal Management or its partners.

Data Set Credit: NOAA Office for Coastal Management 2234 S. Hobson Ave. Charleston, SC 29405-2413 Tel. 843-740-1210 FAX. 843-740-1290 EarthData International of Maryland, LLC 7320 Executive Way Frederick, MD 21704 Tel. 301-948-9550 FAX. 301-963-2064

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 634511
Date Effective From: 2004
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202


CC ID: 634513
Date Effective From: 2004
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 634514
Date Effective From: 2004
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202

Point of Contact

CC ID: 634512
Date Effective From: 2004
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 1302862
W° Bound: -118.00415
E° Bound: -115.973179
N° Bound: 33.631677
S° Bound: 32.489551

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 1302861
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 2002-01-01
End: 2003-01-01

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Grid: Yes

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Procedure:

This data can be obtained on-line at the following URL:;

Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

These data depict the heights at the time of the survey and are only accurate for that time. Users should be aware that temporal changes may have occurred since this data set was collected and some parts of this data may no longer represent actual surface conditions. Users should not use this data for critical applications without a full awareness of its limitations. Not intended for legal use.

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 746573
Download URL:
File Name: Customized Download

Create custom data files by choosing area, map projection, file format, etc.

Distribution 2

CC ID: 746574
Download URL:
File Name: Bulk Download

Simple download of data files.



CC ID: 746576
URL Type:
Online Resource


CC ID: 746577
URL Type:
Online Resource

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 634545
Activity Date/Time: 2017-03-20

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 634544
Activity Date/Time: 2017-11-14

Converted from FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using '' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Activity Log 3

CC ID: 717964
Activity Date/Time: 2018-02-08

Partial upload of Positional Accuracy fields only.

Activity Log 4

CC ID: 746575
Activity Date/Time: 2018-03-13

Partial upload to move data access links to Distribution Info.

Technical Environment


The following describes the hardware and software environment for the acquisition, processing/mosaicking and product finishing phases of the project. A. Acquisition 1. Gulfstream-II Jet Aircraft 2. Ashtech Z-12 GPS Receiver 3. Honeywell GPS/IMU (EGI) 4. Sandi National Laboratories Metrology System 5. Sony Data Instrumentation Recorder (DIR) 6. Sony 19mm tapes 7. GeoSAR X-band/P-band Collection - JPL developed software/hardware B. Processing/Mosaicking 1. SGI2400 Processors (a) DMF Ver. (b) TMF Ver. (c) Openvault Ver 1.4 (d) IRIX Ver. 6.5.12M 2. Ampex Storage (64 TB) 3. SGI Workstations (a) OS/UNIX (b) Erdas Imagine Ver. 8.5 (c) JURASSICPROK Jurx_20031024_cal (JPL) (d) DGX (JPL) (e) Multi-Mosaick, Ver 28 Jan 04 (JPL) (f) Multi-Match, Ver 28 Jan 04 (JPL) (g) Multi-Cull, Ver 28 Jan 04 (JPL) (h) Multi-Affine, Ver 28 Jan 04 (JPL) (i) Motion Measurement Processing, Ver 27 May 03 (JPL) (j) Terrasurver (k) Projector, Ver. .3a (l) ESRI ArcView 3.2a (m). EarthData Proprietary Software C. Product Finishing 1. Bentley - Microstation 2. Terrasolid - Terrascan Ver. 3.003 3. Terrasolid - Terramodeler Ver. 3.003 4. ESRI - ArcInfo ARC GIS Ver. 8.2 5. Microsoft Windows 2000 Ver. 5.0 6. EarthData proprietary software

Data Quality

Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

The horizontal accuracy was tested by comparing GPS ground control points against the data set. Test consisted of visual checks and the use of EarthData proprietary software. Reporting according to the National Standard for Spatial Data Accuracy, the accuracy statement is "Compiled to meet 4.3 meter horizontal accuracy at 95% confidence level."

Completeness Report:

The data set comprehensively includes all anticipated topographic elevation data for the region covered.

Conceptual Consistency:

EarthData International complied with the accuracy requirements through the placement of radar reflective corner reflectors, GPS ground control points, GPS base station locations and ABGPS/IMU. This data was integrated into the acquisition, processing/mosaicking and product finishing process to ensure that the accuracy requirements were met.



2002 Southern California IfSAR

CC ID: 1302855
Publish Date: 2004-01-01
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2004
Citation URL:
Source Contribution:

NOAA Coastal Service Center obtained the final product deliverable from EarthData International, processed it, and loaded it into ArcSDE for distribution purposes. | Type of Source Media: Digital

GeoSAR Mapping of Southern California

CC ID: 1302856
Publish Date: 2004-03-16
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2004-03-16
Source Contribution:

The project was flown using EarthData's modified Gulfstream-II jet aircraft. The IfSAR data was captured using a dual-frequency, dual-polarimetric, Interferometric airborne radar mapping system (GeoSAR) that generates digital elevation models (DEMs) and orthorectified radar reflectance maps near the tops of trees as well as beneath foliage. Data was captured simultaneously in both X-band (first surface, near the tops of trees) and P-band (beneath the foliage). X-band antenna are mounted under the wings close to the fuselage and have a 160 MHz bandwidth at a center frequency of 9.7 GHz. P-band antennas are mounted on the wingtips and have a center frequency of 350 MHz. Each X-band and P-band antenna provides two looks at each point on the ground for a total of four looks on each side. Flight lines are overlapped to provide coverage of the space directly beneath the aircraft. As a result, some points on the ground are covered eight times. Left-right look angles on each side of the aircraft combined with mosaicking process mitigates radar shadow and layover. X-band data has been processed for the entire project area and P-band has been processed for an area of approximately 300 square kilometers within the project area. Due to flight clearance requirements all data was normally collected between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM. | Source Geospatial Form: model | Type of Source Media: Digital data tape

Ground Control Survey

CC ID: 1302857
Publish Date: 2004-03-16
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2004-03-16
Source Contribution:

Ground control and GPS base station locations were established to provide the necessary control to meet the accuracy requirements of the project. Radar reflective corner reflectors were deployed across the project area to be used in the mosaicking stage to ensue that the data met the accuracy requirements. A total of fourteen reflectors were deployed across the total project area with six reflectors deployed within the Phase I project area. A total of ten additional ground control points were established using GPS for vertical and horizontal coordinate values. These points were used during the quality control process to evaluate the accuracy of the final mosaicked data. Ground control references UTM Zone 11, NAD83, GRS80. | Source Geospatial Form: model | Type of Source Media: Paper/digital

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 1302858

EarthData has developed an in depth production process for processing GeoSAR data to meet NOAA's specifications. The following outlines the GeoSAR acquisition and processing workflow that was designed to produce the final product deliverables. 1. PROJECT PLANNING. The success of this project depended on effective management of all components of the project. To support this effort EarthData identified an experienced management team to oversee all aspects of the project. This team was responsible for ensuring that all project requirements outlined in the SOW and any subsequent amendments were met and that an open communication/reporting line was maintained with all participants. 2. GeoSAR ACQUISITION AND PROCESSING WORKFLOW. This section describes the general workflow for the GeoSAR system for the planning, collection, processing, and mosaicking of GeoSAR dual band IFSAR products. 2.1 Collection & Processing Requirements Production Steps Six major activities take place in this production step. A. Ground Control requirements are derived from the Project accuracy and QC specification in combination with the data take flight lines. The need for in situ corner reflectors, kinematic GPS profiles, and mosaicking control drive this task. B. Kinematic GPS is routinely specified for collection (where cost effective) to provide an independent means of quickly verifying the end mosaic product. This is an important part of the overall QA process, since this data is sequestered from the mosaicking staff until after the mosaic is completed. Kinematic GPS data is frequently collected prior to deployment in conjunction with the site survey (see item-D, below). C. GPS Base Station Location candidate sites are selected from the existing High Accuracy Regional Networks (HARN) in the project area, and the High Precision Geodetic Net (HPGN) in California. One or more such locations are usually occupied as the base stations during the flight mission. If such a station is not available within or close to the project site, then either an existing HPGN densification station is used or a new station is established through static GPS survey connected to HPGN stations and meeting the FGCS Order-C, Class-I relative positioning standard. D. Site Surveys are usually conducted several weeks to several months prior to deployment to identify reflector ground control locations, identify and resolve deployment issues (obtain permission or permits), and to verify that the GPS base station receives a high quality signal at the selected primary and backup locations. Kinematic dGPS traces are frequently obtained at this time using one of the base station locations. E. Detailed Acquisition Planning generates a complete acquisition plan including final notched frequency waveforms based upon coordination with the Army Spectrum Office. Flight lines are fully specified and the associated run-time data packets finalized and checked by the Project Manager and the Radar Operators for accuracy and completeness. F. Sortie Packing is the final planning step prior to initiating the Deployment & Acquisition of the raw radar data. In this step the various data take lines are bundled into a flight (sortie) and the corresponding logistical support requirements are determined (e.g., ground control, media, contingency supplies, etc.). The sortie schedule is specified, crews hired, personnel reserved, suppliers hired, and support material inventoried. 2.2 Deployment & Acquisition of Raw Data Production Steps Three major activities take place in this production step. A. Mobilization initiates the acquisition process. If the aircraft requires alternate basing, then it is moved to this base. The aircrew, the Radar operators, and the In-field Acquisition Manager secure local lodging and prepare for the initial sortie.

Process Date/Time: 2004-01-01 00:00:00
Source: GeoSAR Mapping of Southern California

Process Step 2

CC ID: 1302859

In-house routines that used the GDAL open source library converted the floating point raster data sets into Environmental Research System Institute (ESRI) Arc Grids. These grids were then loaded into a single raster data set within ArcSDE using a utility developed with ESRI ArcObjects.

Process Date/Time: 2004-01-01 00:00:00

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 48428
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:48428
Metadata Record Created By: Anne Ball
Metadata Record Created: 2017-11-14 14:46+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: Brianna Key
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2024-02-05 17:15+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2024-02-05
Owner Org: OCM
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2018-03-13
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2019-03-13