An Open Statement on Terminology in InSAR

Since the early days of InSAR, the problematic terms “master” and “slave” have been commonly used to refer to the two images used to form an interferogram. This terminology is also used in other fields, including some optical image processing literature.  We, the undersigned, commit to using alternative terminology in our publications, presentations, software, and teaching material going forwards. In our roles as editors and reviewers we will also insist that these terms are no longer used.

Although at this stage we do not wish to be prescriptive about the replacement terminology, “primary” and “secondary” are clear and unambiguous terms that cover most use cases. “Reference geometry” or “reference phase” can also be used to avoid ambiguity where required. To replace “Single Master” we could use “Single Reference” or “Single Prime”. Similarly, “Multi-master” could be replaced with “Multi-prime”, for example.

We recognise that by itself this is a wholly inadequate response to Black Lives Matter and the wider movement to end racial and ethnic discrimination. We commit to delivering practical changes that help increase equality, diversity and inclusion in our community.

This statement was prepared and approved by the Executive Committees of WInSAR and COMET, and the scientific and organising committee of MDIS.

Please consider adding your name to this Excel signature sheet if you would like to formally support this initiative.