Sensors 2007, 7(9), 1962-1979; doi:10.3390/s7091962

Global Distribution and Density of Constructed Impervious Surfaces

1 Earth Observation Group, NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA 2 Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA 3 Department of Geography, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA 4 Foundation of California State University, Monterey Bay, CA, USA 5 U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA 6 NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2007; Accepted: 13 September 2007 / Published: 21 September 2007
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Land Surface Properties, Patterns and Processes)
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Abstract: We present the first global inventory of the spatial distribution and density ofconstructed impervious surface area (ISA). Examples of ISA include roads, parking lots,buildings, driveways, sidewalks and other manmade surfaces. While high spatialresolution is required to observe these features, the new product reports the estimateddensity of ISA on a one-km2 grid based on two coarse resolution indicators of ISA – thebrightness of satellite observed nighttime lights and population count. The model wascalibrated using 30-meter resolution ISA of the USA from the U.S. Geological Survey.Nominally the product is for the years 2000-01 since both the nighttime lights andreference data are from those two years. We found that 1.05% of the United States landarea is impervious surface (83,337 km2) and 0.43 % of the world’s land surface (579,703km2) is constructed impervious surface. China has more ISA than any other country(87,182 km2), but has only 67 m2 of ISA per person, compared to 297 m2 per person in theUSA. The distribution of ISA in the world’s primary drainage basins indicates that watersheds damaged by ISA are primarily concentrated in the USA, Europe, Japan, China and India. The authors believe the next step for improving the product is to include reference ISA data from many more areas around the world.
Keywords: Impervious surfaces; constructed area; urbanization; nighttime lights; population grid; ISA

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MDPI and ACS Style

Elvidge, C.D.; Tuttle, B.T.; Sutton, P.C.; Baugh, K.E.; Howard, A.T.; Milesi, C.; Bhaduri, B.; Nemani, R. Global Distribution and Density of Constructed Impervious Surfaces. Sensors 2007, 7, 1962-1979.

AMA Style

Elvidge CD, Tuttle BT, Sutton PC, Baugh KE, Howard AT, Milesi C, Bhaduri B, Nemani R. Global Distribution and Density of Constructed Impervious Surfaces. Sensors. 2007; 7(9):1962-1979.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Elvidge, Christopher D.; Tuttle, Benjamin T.; Sutton, Paul C.; Baugh, Kimberly E.; Howard, Ara T.; Milesi, Cristina; Bhaduri, Budhendra; Nemani, Ramakrishna. 2007. "Global Distribution and Density of Constructed Impervious Surfaces." Sensors 7, no. 9: 1962-1979.

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