Urban expansion through identifying most suitable sites for urban sprawl plays vital role in alleviating various socio-economic problems. The objective of this study is to identify potentially suitable sites of Welkite town, Ethiopia. Geographical Information System (GIS) was integrated with remote sensing data to conduct multi criteria overlay analysis by determining principal parameters. DEM data was used to produce elevation and slope map of the study site, whereas, land use and land cover classification was conducted by Landsat 7 image. The influence and weight of each factor was given as, 30% for land use, 25% for elevation, 25% for slope, 10% for ground water and road 10% for accessibility. Rate values for each criteria class were given based on their impact from 9 to 1, higher value for more suitable class value and lower values for unsuitable class values. Finally by employing multi criteria overlay analysis, suitability map of Welkite town was generated. As a result about 1750 hectar of land was founded from highly suitable to moderately suitable for urban sprawl which is located North-eastern parts of Welkite whereas, only southern part of the town exhibits from slightly suitable to unsuitable for further expansion with an area of 1039ha. Hence, decision makers and urban planners of the town are highly recommended to adjust their master plan and sprawl of Welkite town to its north -eastern part based on the identified suitability result of this study.
Key words: GIS, remote sensing, land suitability.
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