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New map offers precise snapshot of human life on Earth

18 November 2016

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A landmark global map showing nearly every human settlement on Earth is now available to researchers. Compared to previous mapping efforts, the satellite-based 'Global Urban Footprint' dataset shows not just urban centres, but also tiny rural hamlets.

The black-on-white Global Urban Footprint (GUF) map is a portrait of the human presence on Earth in 2012, to a maximum resolution of 12 m, covering even single houses.

Starting this month, the GUF 2012 dataset is freely available via ESA's online Urban Thematic Exploitation Platform (U-TEP) at full spatial resolution of 12 m for scientific use, along with an easier to handle 84 m version for any non-profit use.

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