Such comparisons are done using an algorithm that takes into account both the geographic area and mission parameters. The satellite-based imaging technology used most often to execute this process is known as Synthetic Aperture Radar, or SAR, which has led to CCD also often being called SAR Coherent Change Detection. Although radar-based intelligence gathering is a Measurement and Signals Intelligence (MASINT) category, the use of CCD products can be paired with Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) to visually depict physical features on the earth.

Coherent Change Detection can provide very useful and otherwise unavailable insights for a variety of missions – military C4ISR, climate science, space exploration, civil engineering, agriculture, forestry, asset monitoring, disaster management, and more. Because CCD images are captured via radar, not photography, they are not affected by weather or darkness. Especially when combined with other signals intelligence (SIGINT) sources and data assets, CCD can be a very effective tool for improving situational awareness, detecting threats and obstacles, tracking movement of parties within chosen areas, and planning or carrying out missions. Given the cost, availability, and technical knowledge required for both the space-based resources and professional data tools and analysis used in CCD, the most frequent uses have been for government-sponsored military operations, intelligence gathering, and space missions. The profusion of commercial satellites has made CCD more available for non-military purposes, but security issues are likely to keep defense and intelligence uses at the forefront.

As electronic warfare (EW) systems and the broad SIGINT category have both grown in importance across a range of military platforms, the use of intelligence and related data provided by Coherent Change Detection has also grown. Today, CCD is a vital data source for operational products across the electromagnetic spectrum, including Electronic Countermeasures (ECM), Advanced Warning Systems (AWS), Cyber Resilience Intrusion Detection, Real-Time Target Detection and Tracking, Manned and Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Systems, Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) services, Multiple-Object Tracking Radar, and more. CCD itself has also evolved, with improvements both to the processing algorithms as well as SAR sensors in general. Additional interferometric SAR processing techniques have also arisen, including subsidence mapping and the use of interferograms.


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