It is recognized that mean square error (MSE) is not a sufficient criterion for determining the acceptability of an image reconstructed from data that has been compressed and decompressed using an encoding algorithm. In the case of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, it is also deemed to be insufficient to display the reconstructed image (and perhaps error image) alongside the original and make a (subjective) judgment as to the quality of the reconstructed data. In this paper we suggest a number of additional evaluation criteria which we feel should be included as evaluation metrics in SAR data encoding experiments. These criteria have been specifically chosen to provide a means of ensuring that the important information in the SAR data is preserved. The paper also presents the results of an investigation into the effects of coding on SAR data fidelity when the coding is applied in (1) the signal data domain, and (2) the image domain. An analysis of the results highlights the shortcomings of the MSE criterion, and shows which of the suggested additional criterion have been found to be most important.