Six Global Maps of Urban Land Cover: Comparison and Validation

David Potere, Princeton University
Annemarie Schneider, University of California, Santa Barbara

The UN Population Division predicts that some time in 2007 an unprecedented one half of the world’s 6.5 billion people will dwell in urban areas. Today, there are six global maps that can be used to describe contemporary urban land cover. Although most of these maps share common data sources and spatial resolutions, they differ by as much as an order of magnitude in their estimates of the Earth’s total urban surface area. This comparison and validation study offers those who would use such maps a first glimpse of their relative merits at global, regional, and national scales. The six products under review were produced by government organizations, industry groups, and universities in both the US and the EU, and include: Global Landcover 2000, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Land Cover 2001v4, Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project, Digital Chart of the World, Nighttime Lights, and LandScan 2004.

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Presented in Poster Session 6