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C. Hütt, N. Tilly, H. Schiedung, G. Bareth

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In this study, first results of retrieving plant heights of maize fields from multitemporal TanDEM-X images are shown. Three TanDEM-X dual polarization spotlight acquisitions were taken over a rural area in Germany in the growing season 2014. By interferometric processing, digital terrain models (DTM) were derived for each date with 5m resolution. From the data of the first acquisition (June 1st) taken before planting, a DTM of the bare ground is generated. The data of the following acquisition dates (July 15th, July 26th) are used to establish crop surface models (CSM). A CSM represents the crop surface of a whole field in a high resolution. By subtracting the DTM of the ground from each CSM, the actual plant height is calculated. Within these data sets 30 maize fields in the area of interest could be detected and verified by external land use data. Besides the spaceborne measurements, one of the maize fields was intensively investigated using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), which was carried out at the same dates as the predicted TanDEM-X acquisitions. Visual inspection of the derived plant heights, and accordance of the individually processed polarisations over the maize fields, demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed method. Unfortunately, the infield variability of the intensively monitored field could not be successfully captured in the TanDEM-X derived plant heights and merely the general trend is visible. Nevertheless, the study shows the potential of the TanDEM-X constellation for maize height monitoring on field level.