Terrasar x article image

Compared to optical images, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery looks unusual.

Whereas optical images represent features in a way that's familiar to the human eye, SAR represents them in unfamiliar shades of gray.

But SAR images are a gold mine of feature characteristics---like moisture content and roughness---which complement optical data. Furthermore, SAR satellites collect data independent of weather, daylight, and cloud cover conditions. TerraSAR-X is one such satellite.

We are excited to introduce TerraSAR-X tasking on the UP42 platform. With TerraSAR-X tasking, you get new imagery captured over your area of interest as per your specifications.

In this post, we walk you through ordering TerraSAR-X data via the UP42 platform. But first, let's answer an important question. 

Why order TerraSAR-X data? 

TerraSAR-X imagery is suitable for a wide range of applications. These include digital elevation model (DEM) generation, deformation monitoring, and land-cover change detection. More specifically, it is worth ordering TerraSAR-X data because:

  • Daylight and weather independence means reliable data acquisition during the day or night and through cloud cover or dense smoke.

  • Shorter X-band wavelengths enable the capture of more spatial detail than longer wavelengths (e.g., C-band), facilitating visual interpretation.

  • You get to choose from six (6) different imaging modes. As a result, you can order data at spatial resolutions ranging from very high resolution (0--5 m) to high resolution (5 m--40 m).

  • A swath width of up to 270 km enables large area coverage.

  • Four (4) different processing level options mean you can tailor the delivered data product to your analysis requirements.

  • Faster tasking enables quick turnaround times in data delivery, ensuring timely decision-making.

How to order TerraSAR-X through the UP42 platform

Setting up your account

1: Sign up for free with your business account. 

You can do this by going to the home page or console and clicking Sign Up. Fill in your details, including your business email and password. If you are not a business, you have the option to sign up with a personal account.

2: Log in to your account.

Click the Sign In button and enter your email address and password to log in. When logged in, your name appears in the top right corner.

If this is your first time, you will notice that we have topped up your account with 10,000 free credits to help you get started. On a business account, you can use these credits on any data. However, if you're using a personal account, you'll only be able to use them on free data blocks, like the sample TerraSAR-X data, and compatible algorithms.

Entering your custom terraSAR-X data parameters

3: Go to the Tasking tab within the UP42 console.

After logging in, you will land on the UP42 console. Select Catalog on the main menu.

Tap on the Tasking tab and scroll to TerraSAR Tasking. If you are tasking the sensor for the first time, you will notice a Requires Approval restriction. Proceed to step 4. But if you do not see this restriction, you already have access and can go to step 5. 

4: Request access to TerraSAR-X tasking.

Click on TerraSAR Tasking. Select the Request Access to TerraSAR Tasking tab at the bottom.

A new window with a pop-up form appears. Fill in the requested details and hit the submit button. We will get back to you via the email address associated with your account in approximately 7 working days. Meanwhile, you can view the status of your request via the Access Requests tab in the console.

5: Fill in the relevant information about your order.

Zoom into a location by entering its name or geographical coordinates into the search bar on the top left corner. Or click on the plus icon to zoom into your area of interest.

Tap on TerraSAR Tasking. A drop-down form appears. 

Fill in the required details, including:

  • Area of interest (AOI)

  • Acquisition window (time frame)

  • Mode (six modes are available)

  • Polarization

  • Processing level (four levels available)

 Note: You can define your AOI in two ways.

  1. Draw the AOI by pressing the pentagon-shaped icon on the top right corner and clicking on the base map.

  2. Upload your AOI by tapping the upload icon on the search bar. 

Read more about drawing or uploading your AOI.

When done, hit the Next button. The order summary is displayed.

Review your order details and click Submit if the details are correct. If not, select Edit Order to go back and amend the details.

After submitting your order

6: Feasibility assessment of the tasking order.

Our support team will undertake a feasibility study based on your order parameters. The study assesses whether we can complete your order within the parameters or if a change is needed.

If a change is needed, we will present you with different options, e.g., another time or day. Once agreed, we will issue you a quotation with the total cost of acquiring the datasets. Image collection starts upon payment.

7: Access the captured images. 

We will deliver the captured data to your storage folder within the UP42 platform and make them available for download.

TerraSAR-X tasking: Getting you the data you need, when you need it

Since its first flight in 2007, the TerraSAR-X mission has collected SAR imagery over Earth's land and oceans day and night, regardless of the weather.

Yes, the resulting images may look strange, but the black and white SAR images help to detect unique properties beyond what is visible to the human eye. From penetration into surface materials to detection of object motion, SAR data contains plenty of insights.

Ordering TerraSAR-X data ensures you get optimized imagery for your specific purpose. Selecting the most suitable parameters may take some research and testing. So we have provided free TerraSAR-X sample data stacks to test your applications.

Wherever you are, UP42 enables you to order TerraSAR-X datasets in a few easy steps. All you need is an account and an internet connection. You can also leverage the power of our API or SDK to order the data you need. We are happy to answer your questions or support you in choosing suitable parameters. Reach us at [email protected].

Rose Njambi avatar

Rose Njambi


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