Alaska Satellite Facility - Distributed Active Archive Center

Radarsat Antarctic Mapping Project (RAMP)

RAMP Overview

The RADARSAT-1 Antarctic Mapping Project (RAMP) was composed of two main missions, the first Antarctic Mapping Mission (AMM-1) and the Modified Antarctic Mapping Mission (MAMM). Both missions utilized RADARSAT-1, a satellite developed by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and launched by NASA from Vandenburg Air Force Base on November 4, 1995.

RADARSAT-1 was equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which enabled the satellite to capture high-resolution Earth imagery day and night regardless of weather conditions. The satellite covered the Earth every 24 days which allowed interferometric analysis. Functioning at C-band (5.3 GHz frequency), RADARSAT-1 was able to direct its radar beam at different angles in the right-side direction. Additional maneuvering of the satellite itself resulted in its invaluable ability to look left, increasing the number of available target locations. These features made RADARSAT-1 a well-matched satellite for the Antarctic Mapping missions.

AMM-1 started on September 9, 1997 and was completed on October 20, 1997. Its goals were to acquire a complete map of Antarctica and better understand the relationships between the southernmost continent’s environmental elements. As Antarctica’s inhospitable environment had limited the success of previous mapping endeavors, this mission’s data and imagery would prove to be a vital baseline to contrast against the data of future missions.

Using the right- and left-looking abilities of RADARSAT-1, a mosaic map of Antarctica at 25 m resolution was created. The map displayed Antarctica’s geological features through variations in radar brightness and texture, including ice streams. Ice velocity vectors were compiled using AMM-1 data to measure ice sheet movement over ice streams.

MAMM began three years after AMM-1 ended, starting on September 3, 2000 and ending on November 17, 2000. It planned to remap Antarctica and measure ice velocity data using interferometric analysis and data from AMM-1. In the three years’ difference between the two main Antarctic Mapping Missions, ice sheet advance and retreat could be observed and better evaluated as episodic change or regional climate change.

The Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) processed AMM-1 and MAMM data into images, which The Ohio State University converted into maps and velocity fields using Vexcel Corporation software. Additional participants include the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) and other scientific advisors.

Articles from NASA: Mosaic of Antarctica | RAMPing Up

From NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

A cutaway image of Antarctica showing the continent under its ice. ©National Geographic 2002
Surface velocity mosaic of the east Antarctic Ice Streams. The speed is encoded as hue and SAR is encoded as intensity in the HSV color model. The upstream velocity of the Recovery Glacier is about 100 meters/year (light blue areas). Near the grounding line, there is a local peak velocity of about 900 meters/year (yellow and red areas). ©Zhiyuan Zhao

AMM-1 Documentation

MAMM (AMM-2) Documentation

  • Final Report: Modified Antarctic Mapping Mission (MAMM) Acquisition Plan: a detailed description of the development of the acquisition sequence for the RADARSAT spacecraft used to conduct the MAMM mission.
  • The RadarSAT-MAMM Automated Mission Planner: documentation of the results of the automated mission planner effort that were presented at a conference on artificial intelligence in Seattle, Washington.
  • Final MAMM Plans: A directory containing the user request files i.e., the RADARSAT-1 program name for the files containing the requested data acquisitions for all three MAMM cycles.
  • MAMM SPA: A directory containing an automated mission planning tool developed at JPL and used to help analyze candidate acquisition plans for compliance with various mission constraints.​
  • MAMM SPA export: Two export files; one for ascending coverage and the other for descending coverage.

RAMP Media

RAMP Publications

Ice Shelf Advance and Retreat Rates Along the Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica

Detecting Outliers in Irregularly Distributed Spatial Data Sets by Locally Adaptive and Robust Statistical Analysis and GIS

On Reconciling Ground-Based With Spaceborne Normalized Radar Cross Section Measurements

RADARSAT-1 Antarctic Mapping Project: Change-detection and Surface Velocity Campaign

RAMP Overview Publication

Measurement of Glacier Geophysical Properties From InSAR Wrapped Phase

Observing the Antarctic Ice Sheet using the RADARSAT-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar

RAMP Coastline

Automated Extraction of Coastline from Satellite Imagery by Integrating Canny Edge Detection and Locally Adaptive Thresholding Methods

A Complete High-Resolution Coastline of Antarctica Extracted from Orthorectified Radarsat SAR Imagery

Correction of Positional Errors and Geometric Distortions in Topographic Maps and DEMs using a Rigorous SAR Simulation Technique

Antarctic Ice Sheet Balance Velocities from Merged Point and Vector Data

Evidence for Subglacial Water Transport in the West Antarctica Ice Sheet through Three-dimensional Satellite Radar Interferometry

Structure of Southeastern Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves and Ice Tongues from Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery

Structure of Eastern Antarctic Peninsula Ice Shelves and Ice Tongues from Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery

Delineation of Dry and Melt Snow Zones in Antarctica using Microwave Remote Sensing Data

Synergistic Fusion of Phase Unwrapping and Speckle Tracking Methods for Deriving Surface Velocity from Interferometric SAR Data

Wideband Measurements of Ice Sheet Attenuation and Basal Scattering Stearns

Decadal-scale Variations in Ice Flow Along Whillans Ice Stream and its Tributaries, West Antarctica