Classification of crops and other land cover types is an important application of both optical/infrared and SAR satellite data. It is already an import application of present satellite systems, as it will be for planned missions, such as the Sentinels. An airborne SAR data set with a short revisit time acquired by the German ESAR system during the ESA-campaign, AgriSAR 2006, has been used to assess the performance of different polarization modes for crop classification. Both C-and L-band SAR data were acquired over the Demmin agricultural test site in North Eastern Germany on a weekly basis during the growing season. Single-and dual-polarization, and fully polarimetric data have been used in the analysis (fully polarimetric data were only available at L-band). The main results of the analysis are, that multitemporal acquisitions are very important for single-and dual-polarization modes, and that cross-polarized backscatter produces the best results, with errors down to 3%–6% at the two frequencies. There is a trade-off between the polarimetric information and the multitemporal information, where the best overall results are obtained using the multitemporal information. If only a few acquisitions are available, the polarimetric mode may perform better than the single-and dual polarization modes.
I E E E Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 2011, Vol 4, Issue 2, p. 423-431