SLUMAP - Remote Sensing for Slum Mapping and Characterization in sub-Saharan African Cities

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Context and objectives

The central theme of SLUMAP is the comparison of different remote sensing datasets and image analysis techniques to produce geographical information on slums, i.e., their location and extent in a city, and their morphological characteristics. Although remote sensing has the capability to map slums and their development over time, most existing studies focus on small areas and use expensive very-high resolution imagery and proprietary solutions. As reported by the latest studies using state-of-the-art classification approaches, transferability and generalization are the key limiting factors. Therefore, to date, remote sensing has not been used as an effective tool to provide relevant information on slums to public authorities for resource allocation and management. SLUMAP aims at tackling this issue by taking advantage of the large amount of available low-cost or free-of-charge remote sensing datasets, and by developing open, scalable, automated processes to map and characterize slums.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

  • Innovative methods for delineating slum areas in cities, using the lowest possible spatial and spectral resolutions.
  • Tools and methods for deriving interpretable remotely-sensed indicators usable by authorities and stakeholders to characterize intra-slum variation.
  • A novel open-source transferability approach for the detection and characterization of slums, both at the city- and the intra-slum scale.
  • A better understanding of the extension of slums and of intra-slum variations in sub-Saharan cities.

Expected products and services

  • Citywide probability maps of a location being a slum
  • Detailed land-cover maps of slums
  • Indicators derived from the intra-slum analysis that are useful to policymakers
  • A free and open general framework for identifying and characterizing slums in sub-Saharan Africa, and for providing recommendations on the use of RS-derived products to promote good practices.
Project leader(s): ULB - Institut de Gestion de l'Environnement et d'Aménagement du Territoire (IGEAT)
Location: Continent:
  • Africa

  • Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Nairobi (Kenya), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)

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