Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 390

Full Length Research Paper

Monitoring the urban growth of Debre Markos Town (1984-2012), Ethiopia: Using satellite images and GPS

Abebaw Andarge
  • Abebaw Andarge
  • Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Debre Markos University, College of Social Science and Humanities, P. O. Box 269, Debre Markos, Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 25 October 2015
  •  Accepted: 02 December 2015
  •  Published: 30 April 2017


Urban growth is a worldwide phenomenon. It is a process which takes place rapidly to occupy the adjacent land of an area and changes in land use pattern, demographic features and transforms the economic activities of the people. Over the years, Ethiopian cities have experienced tremendous expansion which generates a great concern for urban planners. The present study used Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing and Global Positioning System technologies to identify the nature of physical expansion in Debre Markos town during 1984 – 2012. The researcher discovered that Debre Markos town population has expansion of 170.50% between 1984 and 2012. The built-up area covered 6.78 sq. kms in 1984 and expanded to 12.76 sq. kms in 2012. The town grew at the rate of 3.15 sq. kms and 3.57% annually. As per the study, built-up area has grown from 6.78 to 10.93 during 1984-2004 and 10.93 to 12.76 sq. kms between 2004 and 2012. There is an increment of 44.04% boundary from 1984 to 2012. The city has encroached lots of precious agricultural and forest land areas during the study period. In order to monitor the physical growth of the towns, the researcher recommended the need to introduce modern technologies and use of proper management techniques by urban planning authorities.


Key words: Geographic Information System (GIS), remote sensing, Global Positioning System (GPS), urban growth.