Title: Using surface models to analyze and detect urban pressure around the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Authors: Hendrickx, Marijn
Stal, Cornelis
De Laet, Véronique
Verstraeten, Gert
Goossens, Rudi
Issue Date: Jun-2014
Publisher: University of
Host Document: 34th EARSeL Symposium European remote sensing - new opportunities for science and practice. Abstract and Programme Book pages:53
Conference: EARSeL Symposium edition:34 location:Warsaw date:16-20 June 2014
Abstract: One of the largest threats to cultural heritage is their rapidly changing surroundings. The Giza pyramid
plateau (Egypt) is a prime example of this phenomenon, asitis threatened by the enormous urban
expansion of Cairo over the last decades. Geographic data derived from satellite images is very
important for documenting and detecting suchan expansion especially urbanareas without accurate
cadaster and population statistics like Cairo. Remote sensing techniques have proven to be very useful
to visualize and analyze urban sprawl and land use changes in two dimensions. However, the impact
assessment of urban sprawl needs to be complemented with accurate elevation data, because this
urban sprawl is not only limited to planimetric growth. To create this accurate elevation data, digital
surface models (DSMs) from Corona (1970), Ikonos (2005) and GeoEye (2009 and 2011) images have
been computed using photogrammetric software and ground control points. This work focuses first of all
on a procedure to improve 2.5D change detection from satellite imagery in mainly informal areas. A
pixel-wise subtraction is performed on the 2009 and 2011 DSMs resulting in an automated change
detection workflow. The proposed workflow is validated in the Hada‘iq al-Ahram or Pyramid Gardens
stretching west of the Giza Pyramid plateau. Based on statistical analyses of these change maps, it can
be concluded that the proposed 2.5D change detection workflow using raster DSMs is the closest to
reality. The resulting change maps for western Cairo do not only clarify the horizontal urban sprawl, but
also the increase in building levels increase, i.e. the vertical urban expansion. Since horizon pollution is
a major factor in heritage protection, a second focus is on the evolution of the view towards and from
the famous pyramids during the last four decades. A viewshed analysis is performed on all DSMs
resulting in change maps indicating the evolution throughout the past 40 years. With this work we
proved that surface models are very useful for analyzing urban pressure on cultural heritage sites and
we hope that this work will be used in the protection and conservation of our world heritage. This
abstract fit within the APLADYN project: a Belgian Science Policy project on anthropogenic and
landscape dynamics in large fluvial systems
ISBN: 978-83-63245-57-3
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Division of Geography & Tourism

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