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Photons that are entangled or correlated in orbital angular momentum have been extensively used for remote sensing, object identification and imaging. It has recently been demonstrated that intensity fluctuations give rise to the formation of correlations in the orbital angular momentum components and angular positions of random light. Here we demonstrate that the spatial signatures and phase information of an object with rotational symmetries can be identified using classical orbital angular momentum correlations in random light. The Fourier components imprinted in the digital spiral spectrum of the object, as measured through intensity correlations, unveil its spatial and phase information. Sharing similarities with conventional compressive sensing protocols that exploit sparsity to reduce the number of measurements required to reconstruct a signal, our technique allows sensing of an object with fewer measurements than other schemes that use pixel-by-pixel imaging. One remarkable advantage of our technique is that it does not require the preparation of fragile quantum states of light and operates at both low- and high-light levels. In addition, our technique is robust against environmental noise, a fundamental feature of any realistic scheme for remote sensing.

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Light: Science and Applications