Tarek Rashed and Carsten Jürgens (eds.): Remote Sensing of Urban and Suburban Areas. Heidelberg 2010. 352 p.
Since the appearance of very high spatial resolution satellite products, remote sensing of urban environments has become a cutting-edge and state-of-theart research topic, documented by various recently issued articles, books and other publications as well as numerous conferences. The collection "Remote Sensing of Urban and Suburban Areas" (2010), edited by Tarek Rashed and Carsten Jürgens, is a significant example of the publications of the essential "Urban Remote Sensing" (URS) movement.
On 352 pages, divided into 17 chapters, the book presents theoretical issues and worthwhile practical applications of remote sensing of urban and suburban environments. After a brief introduction, the book starts with several theoretical aspects, ranging from the shape of urban settlements to the spectral, spatial and temporal dimensions of urban areas. The second part of the book comprises a number of useful examples and applied techniques, varying from data fusion techniques and object-based analysis to hyperspectral approaches. These chapters illustrate the benefits of a variety of different earth observation data with their specific spatial and spectral resolutions in a balanced and comprehensive manner. Of particular interest is the implementation of ancillary data like cadastral maps, building data or qualitative data from expert interviews. Remote Sensing of Urban and Suburban Areas covers a wide range of case studies, highlighting suburbanisation processes in the US and Europe, nighttime satellite imagery in Guatemala and some fascinating examples from the Middle East. The comprehensive coverage of a whole range of urban topics is certainly one of the advantages of this book, but includes some drawbacks as well. Despite the valuable content of most of the chapters, an explicit and unequivocal focus on remote sensing techniques is missing in places. In addition, the quality of the articles as well as of the included images and maps differs considerably, even if indeed on a high level. Nevertheless, this book provides dedicated contributions to several topics of fundamental importance, especially for undergraduate and graduate students as well as researchers and practitioners. The bold keywords on the page margins and the chapter summaries, which repeat the most important information, are certainly beneficial for the aforementioned target groups. Exercises and learning activities and objectives provided by the authors of each chapter add to the usefulness of this book, especially for students. Remote Sensing of Urban and Suburban Areas is a valuable contribution to the current discussions regarding remote sensing of urban settlements. Furthermore, it is a multifaceted source of recent reports on applications of remote sensing techniques in a large variety of urban environments.
Tobias Matusch, Nima Ahmadian, Reinhard Zölitz (Greifswald)