US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, 29(2): 230-240, 2003


A wide range of urban ecosystem studies, including urban climate, land use planning, and resource management, require current and accurate geospatial data of urban impervious surfaces. We developed an approach to quantify urban impervious surfaces as a continuous variable by using multisensor datasets. Subpixel percent impervious surfaces at 30-m resolution were mapped using a regression tree model. The utility, practicality, and affordability of the proposed method for large-area imperviousness mapping were tested over three spatial scales (Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Richmond, Virginia, and the Chesapeake Bay areas of the United States). Average error of predicted versus actual percent impervious surface ranged from 8.8 to 11.4%, which correlation coefficients from 0.82 to 0.91. The approach is being implemented to map impervious surfaces for the entire United States as one of the major components of the circa 2000 national land cover database.