Generating WUDAPT Level 0 data – Current status of production and evaluation

Benjamin Bechtel, Paul J. Alexander, Christoph Beck, Jürgen Böhner, Oscar Brousse, Jason Ching, Matthias Demuzere, Cidália Fonte, Tamás Gál, Julia Hidalgo, Peter Hoffmann, Ariane Middel, Gerald Mills, Chao Ren, Linda See, Panagiotis Sismanidis, Marie Leen Verdonck, Guang Xu, Yong Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


The World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools (WUDAPT) project has grown out of the need for better information on the form and function of cities globally. Cities are described using Local Climate Zones (LCZ), which are associated with a range of key urban climate model parameters and thus can serve as inputs to high resolution urban climate models. We refer to this as level 0 data for each city. The LCZ level 0 product is produced using freely available Landsat imagery, crowdsourced training areas from the community, and the open source SAGA software. This paper outlines the protocol by which LCZ maps generated by different members of the community are produced and evaluated. In particular, the quality assessment comprises cross-validation, review, and cross-comparison with other data sets. To date, the results from the different quality assessments show that the LCZ maps are generally of moderate quality, i.e. 50–60% overall accuracy (OA), but this is much higher when considering all built-up classes together or using weights that take the morphological and climatic similarity of certain classes into account. The training data contributed by researchers from around the world also vary in quality and in the interpretation of the landscape, which affects the final quality of the LCZ maps. The acceptable level of quality needed will depend heavily on the application of the data. However, initial modelling studies that use the level 0 products as inputs showed improved performance in simulating the urban climate when replacing the default surface descriptions with the WUDAPT level 0 data. This is also promising for the application of level 0 data in regional and global climate and weather models and supports the assumption that the current level 0 products are already of sufficient quality for certain applications. Moreover, there are various ongoing developments to improve the methods used to produce LCZ maps and their accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-45
Number of pages22
JournalUrban Climate
StatePublished - Mar 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies
  • Atmospheric Science


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