Earthquake Hazard Impact and Urban Planning

Part of the series Environmental Hazards pp 45-66


Capacities of Remote Sensing for Population Estimation in Urban Areas

  • Julia KubanekAffiliated withGeodetic Institute (GIK), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) Email author 
  • , Eike-Marie NolteAffiliated withUniversitätsrechenzentrum (URZ), Heidelberg University
  • , Hannes TaubenböckAffiliated withGeorisks and Civil Security, German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD) German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • , Friedemann WenzelAffiliated withGeophysical Institute (GPI), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • , Martin KappasAffiliated withInstitute of Geography, University of Göttingen

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In the past few decades, devastating earthquakes have caused high social and economic losses in cities. Earthquakes cannot be avoided, but the devastating impacts, especially fatalities, can be minimized through pre-event emergency response planning and preparedness. The development of emergency plans strongly relies on up-to-date population and inventory data. However, existing techniques for population data generation do not meet the requirements of many of today’s dynamic cities. In this context, the importance of remote sensing as a cutting-edge technology for data acquisition in urban areas is increasing. The present study analyzes the capacities and limitations of high resolution optical satellite imagery (IKONOS) for modeling population distribution in the district of Zeytinburnu in Istanbul, Turkey. The results show remote sensing to be an independent, up-to-date and area-wide data source. The use of remote sensing facilitates a mechanism to provide necessary quantitative information on urban morphology and population distribution in a fast and accurate way. The generated data do not have the quality of cadastral data sets but they meet the requirements of identifying bottlenecks, highly risky zones, etc. and can serve as a base for decision making.


Buildings (built-up area, floor numbers, inventory, occupancy, residential living space, usable space) Earthquakes Geographic Information System (GIS) IKONOS Istanbul Population Spatial distribution Modeling Remote sensing Satellite imagery Urban areas Zeytinburnu