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Gong, P., Li, X., & Zhang, W. (2019). 40-year (1978-2017) human settlement changes in China reflected by impervious surfaces from satellite remote sensing. Science Bulletin, 64(11), 756–763.
Abstract: Impervious surfaces are the most significant feature of human settlements. Timely, accurate, and frequent information on impervious surfaces is critical in both social-economic and natural environment applications. Over the past 40 years, impervious surface areas in China have grown rapidly. However, annual maps of impervious areas in China with high spatial details do not exist during this period. In this paper, we made use of reliable impervious surface mapping algorithms that we published before and the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform to address this data gap. With available data in GEE, we were able to map impervious surfaces over the entire country circa 1978, and during 1985-2017 at an annual frequency. The 1978 data were at 60 m resolution, while the 1985-2017 data were in 30 m resolution. For the 30 m resolution data, we evaluated the accuracies for 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015. Overall accuracies reached more than 90%. Our results indicate that the growth of impervious surface in China was not only fast but also considerably exceeding the per capita impervious surface area in developed countries like Japan. The 40-year continuous and consistent impervious surface distribution data in China would generate widespread interests in the research and policy-making community. The impervious surface data can be freely downloaded from http://data.ess.tsinghua.edu.cn.