TOWARDS CONSISTENT MAPPING OF URBAN STRUCTURES – GLOBAL HUMAN SETTLEMENT LAYER AND LOCAL CLIMATE ZONES
Keywords: Local Climate Zones, Global Human Settlement Layer, LULC, Urban Structure, Urban Systems
Abstract. Although more than half of the Earth’s population live in urban areas, we know remarkably little about most cities and what we do know is incomplete (lack of coverage) and inconsistent (varying definitions and scale). While there have been considerable advances in the derivation of a global urban mask using satellite information, the complexity of urban structures, the heterogeneity of materials, and the multiplicity of spectral properties have impeded the derivation of universal urban structural types (UST). Further, the variety of UST typologies severely limits the comparability of such studies and although a common and generic description of urban structures is an essential requirement for the universal mapping of urban structures, such a standard scheme is still lacking. More recently, there have been two developments in urban mapping that have the potential for providing a standard approach: the Local Climate Zone (LCZ) scheme (used by the World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools project) and the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) methodology by JRC. In this paper the LCZ scheme and the GHSL LABEL product were compared for selected cities. The comparison between both datasets revealed a good agreement at city and coarse scale, while the contingency at pixel scale was limited due to the mismatch in grid resolution and typology. At a 1 km scale, built-up as well as open and compact classes showed very good agreement in terms of correlation coefficient and mean absolute distance, spatial pattern, and radial distribution as a function of distance from town, which indicates that a decomposition relevant for modelling applications could be derived from both. On the other hand, specific problems were found for both datasets, which are discussed along with their general advantages and disadvantages as a standard for UST classification in urban remote sensing.