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Urban Areas

Area of dense human habitation.


Derived from 2002-2003 MODIS satellite data at 1 km resolution:

Schneider, A., M. A. Friedl, D. K. McIver, and C. E. Woodcock (2003) Mapping urban areas by fusing multiple sources of coarse resolution remotely sensed data. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, volume 69, pages 1377-1386.

(below) Japan is one of the most populated countries. View from Kyoto to Tokyo.



New version of the MODIS-derived urban area grid is now available (announcement, data download) at 0.5 km and uses an improved algorithm for better accuracy:

Schneider, A., M. A. Friedl and D. Potere (2009) A new map of global urban extent from MODIS data. Environmental Research Letters, volume 4, article 044003.

Schneider, A., M. A. Friedl and D. Potere (2009) Monitoring urban areas globally using MODIS 500m data: New methods and datasets based on urban ecoregions. Remote Sensing of Environment, in review.

No scale ranks. Missing just a couple polygons for points included in populated places.

Could be split apart (intersected with thiessen polygons derived from populated places points) and joined with populated places points to derive names and population values (and density).

Version History

The master changelog is available on Github »