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Vexcel Truth-tags allow Automatic ground truthing of Imaging Radar experiments

Vexcel Corporation announced receiving a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) award from the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force base, Dayton Ohio, to begin development of “truth-tags”—small active radar devices that will allow the automatic ground truthing of imaging radar experiments. Ground-truth information, often referred to as “reference data,” involves the collection of measurements or observations about objects, areas or phenomena that are being remotely sensed. This data can aid in the interpretation, analysis and validation of the remotely sensed data. A truth-tag is a radar detector that senses when it is being observed by radar. It then transmits a series of specially coded radar pulses back to the radar. This pulse series received by the radar has “truth”—information about the target—encoded in it. A truth-tag interfaced with a GPS receiver, for instance, can provide the location of the target. Other manually or automatically entered information may be stored in the tag and coded into the pulses as well. These unique pulses are invisible to standard analysis of the data and require a processing key to be decoded. Once decoded, not only is the truth information available for each of the targets imaged by the radar, but the positions of the tags are also referenced in the image. Once the radar data is processed, the truth for that data set is simultaneously available.

Analysis of the collected radar data might not take place until weeks or months after the actual acquisition due to the need for merging the radar data with the survey information. The surveyed “truth” must then be collated with the data so that useful interpretation of the data and techniques under investigation can be assessed. This can be a very time consuming and tedious process, and fraught with error.
During this two-year project, Vexcel will develop and test several proto-type versions of the truth-tag, as well as develop and implement the required signal processing techniques for “truth extraction.” Founded in 1985 in Boulder, Colorado, Vexcel Corporation is an internationally recognized remote sensing company that specializes in Radar (SAR) Technologies, Aerial and Close-Range Photogrammetry, and Remote Sensing Ground Stations.