Impervious surface area (ISA) is an important parameter for many studies such as urban climate, urban environmental change, and air pollution; however, mapping ISA at the regional or global scale is still challenging due to the complexity of impervious surface features. The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) data have been used for ISA mapping, but high uncertainty existed due to mixed-pixel and data-saturation problems. This paper presents a new index called normalized impervious surface index (NISI), which is an integration of DMSP-OLS and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data, in order to reduce these problems. Meanwhile, this newly developed index is compared with previously used indices—Human Settlement Index (HSI) and Vegetation Adjusted Nighttime light Urban Index (VANUI)—in ISA mapping performance. We selected China as an example to map fractional ISA distribution through a support vector regression approach based on the relationship between the index and Landsat-derived ISA data. The results indicate that the proposed NISI provided better ISA estimation accuracy than HSI and VANUI, especially when the fractional ISA in a pixel is relatively large (i.e., >0.6) or very small (i.e., <0.2). This approach can be used to rapidly update ISA datasets at regional and global scales.
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