An efficient system for creating synthetic InSAR images from simulations

Xiaoru Yuan, Yingchun Liu, David A. Yuen, Baoquan Chen, Tomas Pergler, Yaolin Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this work we visualize tsunami and earthquake simulation results with graphics hardware acceleration. The rapid improvement in the computational power of graphics hardware and its programmability has made general computation on Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) very compelling. We generate Synthetic InSAR images using GPUs. Interference phenomena have formed the underlying theory for Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) in unveiling dynamical Earth movements. In our approach light path differences are defined by the surface values to be visualized. These path differences then modulate the lighting intensity to generate the interference patterns. We can interactively visualize surface deformation patterns by leveraging the computational power of GPUs. Our visualization method is applied to simulations of rupture fault displacements during the tsunamogenic earthquake events, which are vital to understanding the subsequent wave propagation. We also integrate the visualization results into Google Earth virtual globe to provide the geological context of the visualized regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-691
Number of pages21
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would sincerely thank Google Inc. for providing the software Google Earth Pro. to Peking University through the Google Earth Education Initiative. We wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions. David Yuen would like to acknowledge support from Math-Geo and ITR grants from the National Science Foundation. Other funding includes NSF CAREER ACI-0238486, DMS-0528492 and the Army High Performance Computing Research Center under the auspices of the Department of the Army, Army Research Laboratory cooperative agreement number DAAD19-01-20014. We especially thank Rongjiang Wang for his assistance on simulation data generation. We also appreciate our discussions with Professor Huai Zhang. In the images of Figures 1, 10 and 11, the copyright of the geological contexts of our visualization results in the above images belongs to the Google Inc. and other geological information providers.


  • Earthquake
  • GPU
  • InSAR
  • Interference
  • Tsunami
  • Visualization


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