Urbanization is increasingly central to the global development process, but until recently, basic spatial information on the world’s urban areas has been unavailable, inconsistent, or unreliable. . However, innovations in geospatial mapping are now helping to provide one major piece of the puzzle: .
Scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have succeeded in using a , resulting in the ‘Global Urban Footprint’ (GUF), a global map of human settlements at a spatial resolution of 12 meters per grid cell (aggregated to 75m for public use).
The German radar satellites TerraSAR X and TanDEM X acquired over 180,000 images between 2010 and 2013, which were processed, together with additional data such as digital terrain models, to produce the Global Urban Footprint. In total, the researchers processed over 20 million datasets with a combined volume of more than 320 terabytes.