Science and Operational Applications Research (SOAR)
SOAR is a joint partnership program between MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. - Geospatial Services Inc. (MDA GSI) and the Canadian Government through the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Natural Resources Canada's Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS). The program provides access to RADARSAT-2 data for research and testing purposes.
The SOAR program provides an opportunity to explore the enhanced capabilities of RADARSAT-2 and their potential contributions to various applications. This opportunity consists of a loan, of circumscribed amounts of RADARSAT-2 data to research projects. The main outcome pursued by SOAR is to ensure that Canadian stakeholders benefit, through research and development activities, from the $450 million investment made for the development of RADARSAT-2. Now that the satellite is fully operational, the Government of Canada would like to develop specific initiatives under the SOAR umbrella.
Earth Observation satellites have become an indispensable tool to help us monitor our environment and manage our natural resources in the 21st century. In order to take full advantage of the technical advancements they offer, we need to foster the development of a critical mass of Canadian researchers to carry out high-level research and development activities that contribute to Earth Observation science and applications.
In May 2016, the CSA selected nine projects to each receive a grant of $50,000 maximum through its SOAR Program. These projects aim to develop new applications and innovative technologies using radar imagery from Canadian satellite RADARSAT-2 and involving Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR). These grant agreements are with the University of Calgary, the Université de Sherbrooke, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Waterloo, York University, and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique. Among the projects selected, the one entitled "Canadian satellite imagery helps measure glaciers' ice loss" is featured to demonstrate the variety of applications supported through these research activities.
In March 2015, four Canadian universities were selected to receive a total of $700,000 to conduct scientific research and develop innovative applications using new and improved capabilities offered by Earth Observation satellites like RADARSAT-2. These grant agreements are with the Universities of Western, Guelph, Waterloo and Carleton.
This initiative will allow the academic community to generate new scientific knowledge, further enriched their expertise in the field of radar applications and transfer their research into applications of benefit to Canadians in monitoring our land and waters.
Project Name: Inferring surface roughness and vegetation characteristics from RADARSAT-2
Description: This study will use RADARSAT-2 imagery to depict the surface roughness and state of vegetation in an active research farm located in Ariss city, Ontario. Radar images will be acquired to monitor corn, soybean and wheat fields at various growing stages: post-seeding but pre-emergence, early crop development, maximum vegetation and post-harvest. The use of satellite imagery will help to determine the impact of the soil characteristics on the quality and quantity of vegetation growth. The RADARSAT-2 imagery will also contribute to enhance the soil moisture information generated from other sources and use to manage agricultural activities.
University: University of Guelph, Guelph (Ontario)
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