Modeling polycentric urbanization using multisource big geospatial data

Zhiwei Xie, Xinyue Ye, Zihao Zheng, Dong Li, Lishuang Sun, Ruren Li, Samuel Benya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Understanding the dynamics of polycentric urbanization is important for urban studies and management. This paper proposes an analytical model that uses multisource big geospatial data to characterize such dynamics to facilitate policy making. There are four main steps: (1) main centers and subcenters are identified using spatial cluster analysis and geographically weighted regression (GWR) based on Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)/NPP and social media check-in data; (2) the built-up areas are extracted by using Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS) gradient images; (3) the economic corridors that connect the main center and subcenters are constructed using road network data from Open Street Map (OSM) with the least-cost distance method; and (4) the major urban development direction is identified by analyzing the changes in built-up areas within the economic corridors. The model is applied to three major cities in northeastern, central, and northwestern China (Shenyang, Wuhan, and Xi'an) from 1992 to 2012.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number310
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Big geospatial data
  • Economic corridors
  • Nighttime light imagery
  • Polycentric urbanization
  • Social media


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