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Earth Observation data in sustainable urban science research

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group, Remote Sensing Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Organizers: Tilottama Ghosh, Pranab Roy Chowdhury
Chairs: Tilottama Ghosh


The world is undergoing rapid urbanization and it is now expected that about 68% of the world population would be living in urban areas by the year 2050. Such rapid growth poses several sustainability challenges related to ensuring environmental sustainability, resource management, and well-being of urban inhabitants. However, the efforts to address these issues have been severely thwarted by the lack of usable data at urban scales. Given that most of this projected urban growth is expected in the data starved regions around the world, alternative data sources and methods are urgently needed for research. Earth Observation (EO) geospatial datasets offer a much-needed avenue to pursue explorations into the aforementioned critical questions, which would also necessitate efficient methods to use such datasets to answer sustainable questions. The erstwhile DMSP-OLS nighttime lights data and newer VIIRS DNB data are prime examples of such applications, especially in studying urban population, economy, carbon emission etc. Similarly, open geospatial datasets have enabled research into urban mobility, urban inequality, location planning, disaster response; and city level open datasets are being used to monitor urban parameters while promoting open governance.

This session aims at highlighting recent research that uses Earth Observation (EO) data and employs novel methods to study urban sustainability, or develops new datasets and algorithms to address sustainability questions around, but not limited to, socio-economic, environmental, demographic, and cultural phenomena in the urban areas; urban governance and planning.

To participate in the session please register for the AAG meeting and send the abstract and author PIN to organizers:

Tilottama Ghosh
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO; Payne Institute, Colorado School of Mines (,

Pranab K. Roy Chowdhury
University of Washington (


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Daniella Hirschfeld*, Utah State University, Adapting to rising seas: the complex mosaic of social and ecological costs 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Tilottama Ghosh*, Colorado School of Mines, Paul C Sutton, University of Denver, Sharolyn J. Anderson, University of South Australia, Using Building Volume Per Capita (BVPC) to assess spatial inequality in Denver and surrounding counties 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Robin Basalaev-Binder*, McGill University, David Wachsmuth, McGill University, School of Urban Planning, Kevin Manaugh, McGill University, Department of Geography, Progress in Data-Driven Urban Sustainability 15 12:00 AM
Presenter Shrobona Karkun*, Temple University, Victor Hugo Gutierrez-VĂ©lez, Temple University, Utilizing Sentinel 1 and 2 data for researching high-density urban areas 15 12:00 AM

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