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Urban Land Cover Mapping

Learning objectives of this lesson

  • Understand the current challenges of urban monitoring
  • Overview of data and methods of urban monitoring based on remote sensing
  • Visualization of Global Urban Settlement Layers in Earth Engine and assessment of the changes of urban area for a specific region
  • Land surface temperature (LST) with MODIS data
  • Classification of urban areas with Sentinel 2


  • Image Classification
  • The tutorial of this lesson will be done in Google Earth Engine (GEE). If you are not familiar with GEE, link to the FAQ, and tutorials are provided.

Estimated time for this lesson: 45 min


Urbanization is changing our planet. About half of the world’s population already lives in cities. By 2050 that proportion is expected to rise to two-thirds. The loss of vegetation and the sprawl of impervious surfaces that are connected to this process are the cause of many problems societies have to face in the future. Remote sensing images can capture the changes in urban areas but besides just visual observations it also can provide quantification and more detailed information on the impacts of those changes.

In this lesson, you will use data from different sensors to map urban areas and also monitor the effect that build-up areas have on the formation of urban heat islands.


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Meet your instructor Dr. Gohar Ghazaryan.

Dr. Gohar Ghazaryan

Gohar Ghazaryan is a Tenure track scientist at Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). Her research focuses on developing and applying remote sensing methods for environmental monitoring at different scales. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Bonn, where the core project was focused on crop mapping and drought monitoring and contributed to several projects at the Ruhr University of Bochum, with the focus on land use classification and climate adaptation strategies in cities.