Monitoring Urban Land-Use and Morphology Using Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

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  • monitor urban land cover and land use using satellite-sensor images
  • characterise urban land cover and land use morphology using new measurement tools and GIS.


South Wales and Bristol


The project has a generic approach and is divided into a number of component parts:

  • production of accurate land cover maps from high spatial resolution multispectral images and ancillary sources of ‘framework’ data
  • assessment of the quality of intra-urban vegetation based on linear (spectral) mixture modelling and ‘red-edge’ position techniques
  • development and evaluation of graph-based structural pattern recognition techniques to identify and delineate areas of different land use from high spatial resolution optical images
  • evaluation of new, interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar datasets as a means of delineating urban areas and identifying different types of urban land use
  • analysis of the derived datasets to investigate the ways in which urban and peri-urban land cover and land use (industrial, commercial, retail, residential, brownfield and green spaces) are structured, focusing on the underlying order and spatial structure that characterises the apparently irregular geometry of urban land use
  • use of the detailed land use classifications to drive land use based transportation models to inform studies of urban ecology - through the study of landscape pattern, including the spatial distribution and morphology of urban green space and the impacts of its increasing fragmentation.

Start date/duration

October 1998 Three years

Lead Organisations

University of Bristol

University of Wales Swansea


This project will deliver a robust and appropriate approach to urban inventory analysis, developed and applied using a detailed case study within South Wales, extended eastwards from Cardiff to include the Bristol area.


Ordnance Survey

Marcial Echenique and Partners Ltd

Bristol County Council

Cardiff County Council

Further Details

Further information is available from the following contacts:

Lead Researcher: Prof P A Longley

Tel: 0117 9287509, Fax: 0117 9287878, e-mail:

URGENT Programme Manager: Graham Leeks

Tel: 01491 692203, Fax: 01491 692313, e-mail: