Assessing the accuracy of satellite derived global and national urban maps in Kenya
Tatem AJ., Noor AM., Hay SI.
Ninety percent of projected global urbanization will be concentrated in low income countries (United-Nations, 2004). This will have considerable environmental, economic and public health implications for those populations. Objective and efficient methods of delineating urban extent are a cross-sectoral need complicated by a diversity of urban definition rubrics world-wide. Large-area maps of urban extents are becoming increasingly available in the public domain, as are a wide-range of medium spatial resolution satellite imagery. Here we describe the extension of a methodology based on Landsat ETM and Radarsat imagery to the production of a human settlement map of Kenya. This map was then compared with five satellite imagery-derived, global maps of urban extent at Kenya national-level, against an expert opinion coverage for accuracy assessment. The results showed the map produced using medium spatial resolution satellite imagery was of comparable accuracy to the expert opinion coverage. The five global urban maps exhibited a range of inaccuracies, emphasising that care should be taken with use of these maps at national and sub-national scale.