Observing Urbanization from Space
SLEUTH, a new computer model that utilizes satellite imagery to display and forecast land use patterns on Earth, could serve as an important advancement in our ability to judge future urban growth. An initial study conducted in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area projects an 80% increase in developed land use by the year 2030 based on current trends. But policies of increased forest and agricultural protection could stem growth to 20 or 30% during the same period, according to the simulation model. According to one researcher, this technology "provide[s] us with an unprecedented ability to monitor the urbanization process and capture the patterns of urban sprawl."
Thanks to Erin Clark