Land use mapping

City planners need to know which areas of a city are used for which purpose. Therefore, they produce a map of "land use", that identifies parts of a city and the major activities (land use) that happen there. Remote sensing imagery is very useful for this purpose, since you certainly don't want to spend many weeks or months walking or driving around a city to map its land use. But to use remote sensing imagery effectively, you have to be able to interpret it accurately.

The satellite image in this activity shows a part of downtown Montreal. It will be a bit harder to interpret this black and white image, because you don't have colour clues to rely on. But you can see quite a bit of spatial detail - even individual streets and large buildings.

There are five categories to map: water, industrial, central business district, parks & recreation, and residential & commercial. Choose a different colour for each of these categories and colour in the boxes in the index of the blank map. Then for each area outlined on the map, interpret the corresponding area on the image. Use the interpretation key below for clues. Once you figure out the land use for a particular area, colour in the map to match it.
Land use category What does it mean? Look for this in the image
water rivers, lakes smooth, dark areas with docks and bridges
industrial large factories, railway yards, docks, storage yards rail yards; large (wide) buildings; empty lots; bare ground; lack of rectangular street pattern
central business district tall office buildings, hotels closely packed, tall buildings casting large shadows
parks and recreation parks, golf courses, race tracks, amusement parks, sports arenas large grassed areas; winding paths; pponds; oval tracks; large, irregular buildings
residential and commercial houses, apartment buildings, stores, shopping centres rectangular street pattern, closely spaced houses and some larger buildings

Satellite image - downtown Montreal

Land use map - downtown Montreal