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High-Resolution Global Monitoring of Urban Settlements

Marconcini, Mattia and Esch, Thomas and Felbier, Andreas and Heldens, Wieke (2013) High-Resolution Global Monitoring of Urban Settlements. REAL CORP 2013, 20-23 May 2013, Rome, Italy.


Official URL: http://www.corp.at/archive/CORP2013_208.pdf


Since the beginning of the 21st century, more than half of the global human population is living in urban environments and the dynamic trend of urbanization is expected to grow incredibly fast, with the number of urban dwellers currently increasing by about 180.000 people every day. In this framework, an effective monitoring of urban sprawl represents a key issue to analyse and understand the complexity, cross-linking and increasing dynamics of urban environments in order to ensure a sustainable development of urban and peri-urban areas. To this purpose, in the last decades satellite Earth observation (EO) has proved to be a promising tool in combination with widely automated methods of data processing and image analysis for providing up-to date geo-information on urban settlements at global scale; nevertheless, the geometric resolution of the current EO-based geo-information products is limited to 300-500 m, thus often resulting in poor accuracy to support decision makers and urban planners. TanDEM-X (TerraSAR-X add-on for Digital Elevation Measurement) is a German radar satellite mission aiming at the provision of a global digital elevation model (DEM) at 12 m spatial resolution. Besides this primary goal, the global coverage with very high resolution (VHR) TerraSAR-X (TSX) and TanDEM-X (TDX) imagery collected in 2011 and 2012 can be used to characterize settlement patterns worldwide in a so far unique spatial detail. Accordingly, the German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has implemented a fully-automated processing system that detects and extracts built-up areas from the global TSX/TDX imagery acquired in the context of the TDM. The output of this approach is a global binary settlement mask that outlines urban and non-urban areas at the unprecedented spatial resolution of ~0.4 arc sec (i.e., ~12 m). The intended, world-wide data set is called Global Urban Footprint (GUF) and a public domain version of it will be made available at ~3 arcsec (i.e., ~50-75m) spatial resolution. With its global coverage and the enormous spatial detail, this initiative represents a promising contribution to global analyses of urban and peri-urban areas.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/83353/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech, Paper)
Title:High-Resolution Global Monitoring of Urban Settlements
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Marconcini, MattiaMattia.Marconcini (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Esch, ThomasThomas.Esch (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Felbier, Andreasandreas.felbier (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Heldens, WiekeWieke.Heldens (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:May 2013
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Page Range:pp. 1-5
Keywords:Urbanization, Settlements pattern, Global mapping, TanDEM-X, Automation, Texture
Event Title:REAL CORP 2013
Event Location:Rome, Italy
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:20-23 May 2013
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Fernerkundung der Landoberfläche (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center > Land Surface
Deposited By: Marconcini, Mattia
Deposited On:17 Jul 2013 13:30
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 19:41

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