The three-dimensional imaging of the earth’s surface and the tomographic measurement of 3-D vegetation structures without temporal changes requires simultaneous imaging from two different look angles. The optimum spacing (baseline) between the two imaging positions varies from approx. 1 km to over 10 km. A variable baseline length in this range is best achieved with a pair of satellites flying in close formation. A tandem formation is not only a fundamental prerequisite for the global measurement of forest height and vertical structures, but is also the basis for a multitude of other applications, as e.g.
- Generation of digital elevation models both with and without the influence of vegetation.
- Observation of three-dimensional ice structures and their spatiotemporal variations.
- Measurement of ocean currents and wave height.
- Detection of land and slope instabilities.
- Observation of wetlands and water level measurements underneath vegetation.
- Determination of sea ice thickness.
- Detection of forest damage.
- Monitoring of morphological variations in thawing permafrost regions.