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25 Mar


Landsat data has been around for a while and its usefulness cannot be overemphasized, it is been used across many fields and discipline, and urban planning is not left out.

Cities are places of light, action, complex social interactions, multi-faceted cultures, and fast-paced living. It’s no wonder cities are growing faster than rural areas. Earth experienced a milestone in the history of urban landscapes in 2008-09. More than 50 percent of the world’s human population now lives in areas of contiguous urban development. People are driving landscape-scale changes on our planet.

Considering that people change the land surface, vegetation, water cycle, radiant heat, and other aspects of the landscape, the nature of this milestone has important implications for life. Using Landsat data, people can monitor urban change and also forecast patterns of change in future urban landscapes. Landsat sensors employ a spatial resolution of 30 m, an ideal scale for observing human impacts on the land. The sensors detect urban growth with visible and infrared reflectivity consistently, objectively, and dependably over time.


Land Use Classification – Landsat data can be used to classify land, land can be classified into built up area, vegetation, forest, rock out crop, water body, bare land and other classification. There are two types of classification namely Supervised Classification and Unsupervised classification. Supervised classification involves identifying some pixels as a particular class i.e built up area or water and instructing the software to use the sample you have identified to classify the Landsat imagery. Unsupervised classification involves the classification of the Landsat data based on the distinguish spectral properties of the Landsat data. From the resulting classified data, the planner can be able to know the area of each classified feature i.e vegetation.

Land use classification is the foundation for other usage of the Landsat data. Landsat data has been available for a very long time, after classifying the data for the periods you want to study i.e 1990, 2001,2005 and 2016.

We can monitor deforestation by looking at the area of the forest in different periods, from the data, we can conclude if deforestation is occurring in the study area or not. We can also use this data to study urban sprawl and understanding the data can help trigger a way to solve the problem. We can use the data to know how our cities and rural areas are growing. We can also use the data to create a Landuse pattern map which can be used to understand the socio-economic impact on the land use of the area. We can use the data to map out pervious and impervious surfaces which will help in allocating land for green areas.

Urban planners should be able to leverage the Landsat data for effective planning in their environment

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