Assessment of Urban Sprawl of Islamabad Metropolitan Area Using Multi-Sensor and Multi-Temporal Satellite Data

Mohsin Jamil Butt, Ahmad Waqas, Muhammad Farooq Iqbal, Gul Muhammad, M. A.K. Lodhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The present research relates to the exploitation of remote sensing and geographic data to study the metropolitan expansion, land use patterns and land cover classification of Islamabad. The metropolitan development based on growth direction and expansion trends from the city centre was observed for a period of 38 years. Landsat satellite data from three sensors, that is, multi-spectral sensor, thematic mapper and enhanced thematic mapper plus, were used in this study. The classification of the complex spatial assemblage of urban environment and its expanding precincts was done using temporal data collected during the period 1972-2009 and geo-referenced to a common coordinate system. The information regarding agriculture farms, bare land, dense forest, mixed vegetation, shadowy regime, sparse residential areas, thickly populated areas and water bodies was extracted. The extent of urban conurbation growth was computed and analyzed. Our results show that the urban development is expanded by 87.31 km 2. In addition, the urban growth is accompanied by the loss of forest and other natural habitat in the city and has influenced the spatial patterns and structure of urban development. It is concluded that the remote sensing and GIS techniques supplemented with census data are very efficient and effective for studying the metropolitan growth patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-114
Number of pages14
JournalArabian Journal for Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • GIS
  • Islamabad
  • Landsat
  • Pakistan
  • Remote sensing


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