High resolution remote sensing of densely urbanised regions: A case study of Hong Kong

Janet Elizabeth Nichol, Man Sing Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Data on the urban environment such as climate or air quality is usually collected at a few point monitoring stations distributed over a city. However, the synoptic viewpoint of satellites where a whole city is visible on a single image permits the collection of spatially comprehensive data at city-wide scale. In spite of rapid developments in remote sensing systems, deficiencies in image resolution and algorithm development still exist for applications such as air quality monitoring and urban heat island analysis. This paper describes state-of-the-art techniques for enhancing and maximising the spatial detail available from satellite images, and demonstrates their applications to the densely urbanised environment of Hong Kong. An Emissivity Modulation technique for spatial enhancement of thermal satellite images permits modelling of urban microclimate in combination with other urban structural parameters at local scale. For air quality monitoring, a Minimum Reflectance Technique (MRT) has been developed for MODIS 500 m images. The techniques described can promote the routine utilization of remotely sensed images for environmental monitoring in cities of the 21st century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4695-4708
Number of pages14
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009


  • Aerosols
  • PM 2.5
  • Thermal remote sensing
  • Urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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