This article presents efficient technique of two-dimensional (21)) scattering center extraction and inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) image forrmation of a target. The proposed technique uses a sparse scanning order conception and modified spatial smoothing preprocessing (MSSP). The MSSP is used to construct autocorrelation matrix. In general, 2D IFFT(inverse fast Fourier transform) is widely used to obtain 2D scattering center and ISAR image. This method is computationally efficient, but has drawbacks that art poor in terms of resolution. To overcome these shortcomings with the IFFT-based method, various high-resolution techniques were developed. The proposed algorithm enables its to pro vide exact scattering centers and ISAR image of a target. In order to show the performances of the proposed technique, we use backscattered field data of the ideal point scatterers and the F-18 aircraft to estimate 2D scattering centers and obtain 2D ISAR image. (C) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.