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Proceedings of the Symposium on Global and Environmental Monitoring

D.R. Inkster
Intera Technologies Ltd.
101 6th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2P 3P4
A Luscombe
Spar Aerospace Ltd.
21025 Trans-Canada Highway
Ste-Anne-de-Belleville, Quebec H9X 3R2
S. Waterman
MacDonald Dettwiller
13800 Commerce Parkway
Richmond, B.C. V6V 2J3
As a result of its all weather capability, RADARSAT offers a global imaging capacity that vastly exceeds that
of the visual satellites. To ensure that this international capacity is translated into cost effective and timely
products the Canadian company, "RadarSat International" (RSI) has been formed. RSI has been assigned an
exclusive license by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to market and distribute RadarSat products, excluding
data required by the Governments of Canada and the U.S. for their own use. At present, RSI is conducting
market surveys for eventual RadarSat products, and is participating in reviews of the design of the Space and
Ground segments of the RadarSat with the goal of optimizing system design for future users.
The interpretation and use of RadarSat products will be quite different from visual satellites. Images will be
available regardless of cloud cover or solar illumination. To take advantage of this feature, a near-real time
distribution system is being designed for those users who can benefit from it. Radar images themselves present
quite different interpretation problems to the users. Tonal and textural information are related to different
target parameters, and the viewing geometry of the radar is different from that of the aerial photograph. In
an attempt to ensure that the information available from RadarSat is useful for Canadian and international
applications, the requirements of users have been assessed and incorporated in the end-to-end design of the
RadarSat system.
This paper describes the RadarSat design with specific reference to features of the system of importance to
users involved in ice and ocean surveillance, to forestry and agricultural monitoring, and to geological mapping.