Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Applications of remote sensing in a rapidly urbanizing desert region

William L. Stefanov, Maik Netzband, Matthias S. Möller, Charles Redman, Chris MacK

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


The Phoenix metropolitan agglomeration (Fig. 7.1) is one of the fastest-growing conurbations in the United States, and is the focus of the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project (CAP LTER) (Grimm et al. 2000, Grimm and Redman 2004). This project has been the locus of significant remote sensing investigation and characterization of the Phoenix urban and peri-urban areas (Stefanov 2002), combined with ground truthing and allied studies (Hope et al. 2003). The information derived from these and other studies is increasingly being used by local governments and regional planners (GP2100 2003). As an example, the City of Scottsdale, Arizona has used high-resolution, airborne, multispectral data to assess impervious and pervious land-cover percentages for surface water runoff studies. This use of remotely sensed information, rather than traditional ground-based surveys, produced estimated cost savings of eight to fifteen million dollars for the city (W. Erickson 1999). Construction of an advanced visualization and modeling environment (a decision theater) that integrates remotely sensed and other geospatial data for the Phoenix metropolitan region was completed in 2005 at Arizona State University (J. Fink 2005). Use of such an advanced system enables near real-time modeling of the impact of planning and development decisions. Remotely sensed data acquired at a variety of spatial, spectral, and temporal resolutions provides the basic biophysical information necessary to initialize models of urban resilience and sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationApplied Remote Sensing for Urban Planning, Governance and Sustainability
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9783540255468
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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