Darkness on the Edge of Town: Mapping Urban and Peri-Urban Australia Using Nighttime Satellite Imagery

The Professional Geographer, Volume 62, Issue 1 February 2010 , pages 119 – 133

Paul C. Sutton; Andrew R. Goetz; Stephen Fildes; Clive Forster; Tilottama Ghosh

“This article explores the use of nighttime satellite imagery for mapping urban and peri-urban areas of Australia. A population-weighted measure of urban sprawl is used to characterize relative levels of sprawl for Australia’s urban areas. In addition, the expansive areas of low light surrounding most major metropolitan areas are used to map the urban-bush interface of exurban land use. Our findings suggest that 82 percent of the Australian population lives in urban areas, 15 percent live in peri-urban or exurban areas, and 3 percent live in rural areas. This represents a significantly more concentrated human settlement pattern than presently exists in the United States.”

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