Urban Remote Sensing: Methods and Applications

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Landscape Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group, Remote Sensing Specialty Group
Organizers: Michelle Stuhlmacher, Chao Fan, Elizabeth Wentz
Chairs: Michelle Stuhlmacher

Call for Submissions

Each session will consist of four papers (15-minute presentations, 5-minute Q&A) followed by a moderated discussion for all session participants and attendees. We anticipate organizing both in-person and virtual sessions as well as converting in-person sessions to online if needed based on COVID-19 travel restrictions. For those interested in participating, send an abstract of no more than 250 words and your personal identification number (PIN number, received from the AAG after registering online at www.aag.org) to the organizers by October 23, 2020. Please indicate whether you plan to participate in person or virtually.


The world’s population is now majority urban and over 75% of the earth’s land has been modified by humans (Verburg et al. 2013; United Nations 2019). Greater examination of the contributions of urban areas to global sustainability are needed if we are to sustainably inhabit a world with 9.7 billion people by 2050 (United Nations 2019). Some urban areas have a wealth of data but others lack basic understanding about population densities, the distribution of environmental services, and other factors that affect environmental quality and the quality of life for urban residents. Remote sensing can provide (proxy) data when it is otherwise scarce. Additionally, advances in sensors, computing technology and the development of new remote sensing tools, which leverage these advances, have increased the range of questions that can be answered with remote sensing (Gorelick et al. 2017).

This session will convene research employing a variety of platforms, sensors, and methods to foster a larger conversation about the methods and applications of remote sensing for urban areas and built landscapes. Potential paper topics include a broad range of remote sensing applications in urban land, but are not limited to:
1. Urbanization and urban expansion processes
2. Urban land use land cover change
3. Urban socio-ecological issues
4. Urban climatology
5. Nighttime light remote sensing for urban areas
6. Urban vegetation and urban ecosystems
7. Urban hydrology and water resources
8. Urban emissions and air quality
9. Geospatial understanding of sustainable urban analytics

Gorelick, Noel, Matt Hancher, Mike Dixon, Simon Ilyushchenko, David Thau, and Rebecca Moore. 2017. “Google Earth Engine: Planetary-Scale Geospatial Analysis for Everyone.” Remote Sensing of Environment, Big Remotely Sensed Data: tools, applications and experiences, 202 (December): 18–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.06.031.
United Nations. 2019. “World Urbanization Prospects: 2019 Revision.” ST/ESA/SER.A/423. United Nations, Population Division. https://population.un.org/wpp/Publications/.
Verburg, Peter H, Karl-Heinz Erb, Ole Mertz, and Giovana Espindola. 2013. “Land System Science: Between Global Challenges and Local Realities.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Human settlements and industrial systems, 5 (5): 433–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2013.08.001.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Michelle Stuhlmacher*, DePaul University, Matei Georgescu, Arizona State University, Yina Hu, Peking University, B. L. Turner II, Arizona State University, Ran Goldblatt, New Light Technologies, Sarthak Gupta, Arizona State University, Amy Frazier, Arizona State University, Nicholas Clinton, Google, Is urban form homogenizing in global cities?: Assessing built footprint changes and implications for the urban heat island 15 12:00 AM

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