The utility of Landsat TM imagery for mapping land use/cover in Istanbul, Turkey is examined in this study. Urbanization has been the dominant demographic trend for the last few decades in Istanbul. The research focused especially to one of the biggest districts of Istanbul (Umraniye), which represents best the growing problems of urban sprawl. Umraniye district is exposed to rapid land use change over last few decades, due to the population growth. Landsat TM data gathered in 1995 and 2005 were used for land use/cover mapping. The changes were monitored by a post classification method. The results suggest that the approach has the potential, particularly for local governments for monitoring land use/cover changes and planning applications. The overall accuracy of the classifications of the data is 80% for both years 1995 and 2005, and the accuracy assessment result shows kappa coefficient agreement of 0.744 and 0.745 for the years 1995 and 2005 respectively. The results revealed that major degradation occurred in the forest and green areas of Umraniye district. The changes from the class of forest and green area to the classes of road, residential and bare land are calculated as 874.17, 483.63 and 1823.31 ha respectively.
Key words: Remote sensing, land use/cover, post classification, landsat TM, urbanization
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