Application of Remote Sensing and GIS for Modeling and Assessment of Land Use/Cover Change in Amman/Jordan


Modeling and assessment of land use/cover and its impacts play a crucial role in land use planning and formulation of sustainable land use policies. In this study, remote sensing data were used within geographic information system (GIS) to map and predict land use/cover changes near Amman, where half of Jordan’s population is living. Images of Landsat TM, ETM+ and OLI were processed and visually interpreted to derive land use/cover for the years 1983, 1989, 1994, 1998, 2003 and 2013. The output maps were analyzed by using GIS and cross-tabulated to quantify land use/cover changes for the different periods. The main changes that altered the character of land use/cover in the area were the expansion of urban areas and the recession of forests, agricultural areas (after 1998) and rangelands. The Markov chain was used to predict future land use/cover, based on the historical changes during 1983-2013. Results showed that prediction of land use/cover would depend on the time interval of the multi-temporal satellite imagery from which the probability of change was derived. The error of prediction was in the range of 2%-5%, with more accurate prediction for urbanization and less accurate prediction for agricultural areas. The trends of land use/cover change showed that urban areas would expand at the expense of agricultural land and would form 33% of the study area (50 km×60 km) by year 2043. The impact of these land use/cover changes would be the increased water demand and wastewater generation in the future.

Share and Cite:

J. Al-Bakri, M. Duqqah and T. Brewer, "Application of Remote Sensing and GIS for Modeling and Assessment of Land Use/Cover Change in Amman/Jordan," Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 5 No. 5, 2013, pp. 509-519. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2013.55048.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. T. Al-Bakri, M. Salahat, A. Suleiman, M. Suifan, M. R. Hamdan, S. Khresat and T. Kandakji, “Impact of Climate and Land Use Changes on Water and Food Security in Jordan: Implications for Transcending ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’,” Sustainability, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2013, pp. 724-748.
[2] A. Alqurashi and L. Kumar, “Investigating the Use of Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques to Detect Land Use and Land Cover Change: A Review,” Advances in Remote Sensing, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2013, pp. 193-204.
[3] A. Al Mashagbah, R. Al-Adamat and H. Al-Amoush, “GIS and Remote Sensing to Investigate Urban Growth in Mafraq City/Jordan between 1987 and 2010,” Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 4, No. 4, 2012, pp. 377-382.
[4] B. Quan, Z. Xiao, M. Romkens, Y. Bai and S. Lei, “Spatiotemporal Urban Land Use Changes in the Changzhutan Region of Hunan Province in China,” Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2013, pp. 136-147.
[5] P. Raj and P. Azeez, “Land Use and Land Cover Changes in a Tropical River Basin: A Case from Bharathapuzha River Basin, Southern India,” Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2010, pp. 185-193.
[6] N. Singh and J. Kumar, “Urban Growth and Its Impact on Cityscape: A Geospatial Analysis of Rohtak City, India,” Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2012, pp. 12-19.
[7] R. Zaki, A. Zaki and S. Ahmed, “Land Use and Land Cover Changes in Arid Region: The Case New Urbanized Zone, Northeast Cairo, Egypt,” Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2011, pp. 173-194.
[8] T. Lasanta, S. Beguería and J. M. García-Ruiz, “Geomorphic and Hydrological Effects of Traditional Shifting in Agriculture in a Mediterranean Mountain Area, Central Spain Pyrenees,” Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2006, pp. 146-152.[146:GAHEOT]2.0.CO;2
[9] J. T. Al-Bakri, M. Ajlouni and M. Abu-Zanat, “Incorporating Land Use Mapping and Participation in Jordan: An Approach to Sustainable Management of Two Mountainous Areas,” Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2008, pp. 49-57.
[10] Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan, “Water for Life: Jordan’s Water Strategy 2008-2022,” Amman, Jordan, 2009.
[11] Department of Statistics, “Jordan in Figures: 2012,” Report No.14, DoS, Amman, 2012.
[12] Ministry of Water and Irrigation, “Special Report on Water Resources in Jordan,” Amman, 2009.
[13] Department of Statistics, “Iraqis in Jordan: Their Number and Characteristics,” DoS, Fafo and UNFPA, Amman, 2007.
[14] UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency), “A Briefing Note on Syrian Refugees,” 2013.
[15] J. T. Al-Bakri, J. C. Taylor and T. R. Brewer, “Monitoring Land Use Change in the Badia Transition Zone in Jordan Using Aerial Photography and Satellite Imagery,” The Geographical Journal, Vol. 167, No. 3, 2001, pp. 248-262.
[16] R. Van Hulst, “On the Dynamics of Vegetation, Markov Chains as Models of Succession,” Vegetatio, Vol. 40, No. 1, 1979, pp. 3-14.
[17] R. J. Hobhs and C. J. Legg, “Markov Models and Initial Floristic Composition in Heatland Vegetation Dynamics,” Vegetatio, Vol. 56, No.1, 1984, pp. 31-43.
[18] K. Aaviksoo, “Changes of Plant Cover and Land Use Types (1950’s to 1980’s) in Three Mire Reserves and their Neighbourhood in Estonia,” Landscape Ecology, Vol. 8, No. 4, 1993, pp. 287-301.
[19] H. Balzter, “Markov Chain Models for Vegetation Dynamics,” Ecological Modelling, Vol. 126, No. 2-3, 2000, pp. 139-154.
[20] Q. Weng, “Land Use Change Analysis in the Zhujiang Delta of China Using Satellite Remote Sensing, GIS and Stochastic Modelling,” Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 64, No. 3, 2002, pp. 273-284.
[21] Y. Kurucu and N. K. Chiristina, “Monitoring the Impacts of Urbanization and Industrialization on the Agricultural Land and Environment of the Torbali, Izmir Region, Turkey,” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Vol. 136, No. 1-3, 2008, pp. 289-297.
[22] B. Ahmed and R. Ahmed, “Modeling Urban Land Cover Growth Dynamics Using Multi-Temporal Satellite Images: A Case Study of Dhaka, Bangladesh,” ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2012, pp. 3-31.
[23] G. R. Pontius and J. Malanson, “Comparison of the Structure and Accuracy of Two Land Change Models,” International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2005, pp. 243-265.
[24] Jordan Meteorological Department, “Annual Report of Jordan Meteorological Department,” Amman, 2010.
[25] Ministry of Agriculture, Jordan, “The Soils of Jordan: Semidetailed Level (1:50,000),” Ministry of Agriculture, Amman, 1995.
[26] Department of Statistics, “Demographic Statistics,” DoS, Amman, 2013.
[27] B. M. Al-Qaisi, “Climate Change Effects on Water Resources in Amman Zarqa Basin—Jordan,” Individual Project Report for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, MWI, Amman, 2010.
[28] Consolidated Consultant, “Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Study for the Expansion of As-Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant,” Final ESIA Report Submitted to MWI, Amman, 2012.
[29] A. Al-Omari, Z. Al-houri and R. Al-Weshah, “Impact of the As Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade on the Water Quality (COD, Electrical Conductivity, TP, TN) of the Zarqa River,” Water Science & Technology, Vol. 67, No. 7, 2013, pp. 1455-1464.
[30] J. R. Jensen, “Introductory Digital Image Processing: A Remote Sensing Perspective,” 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 2005.
[31] R. A. Schowengerdt, “Remote Sensing: Models and Methods for Image Processing,” 3rd Edition, Academic Press, London, 2006.
[32] M. M. Rababa’a and J. T. Al-Bakri, “Mapping Land Cover in the Dead Sea Basin from Landsat TM Satellite Imagery,” Dirasat, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2006, pp. 103-113.
[33] S. Al-Tamimi and J. T. Al-Bakri, “Comparison between Supervised and Unsupervised Classifications for Mapping Land Use/Cover in Ajloun Area,” Jordan Journal of Agricultural Sciences, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2005, pp. 73-83.
[34] R. G. Congalton, “A Review of Assessing the Accuracy of Classifications of Remotely Sensed Data,” Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 37, No. 1, 1991, pp. 35-46.
[35] University of Jordan, “Improvement of Agricultural Productivity in Arid and Semi-Arid Zones of Jordan (JAZPP),” Final Report to EU, SEM/O3/628/021, UOJ, Amman, 2002.
[36] L. Salameh, “Assessment of Land Use/Cover Changes in the Zarqa Basin Using Remote Sensing and Markov Model,” Unpublished MSc Thesis, University of Jordan, Amman, 2006.
[37] S. Khresat, J. Al-Bakri and R. Tahhan, “Impacts of Land Use Change on Soil Properties in the Mediterranean Region of Northwestern Jordan,” Land Degradation & Development, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2008, pp. 397-407.
[38] P. Krause, D. P. Boyle and F. Base, “Comparison of Different Efficiency Criteria for Hydrological Model Assessment,” Advances in Geosciences, Vol. 5, 2005, pp. 89-97.
[39] United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Survey Staff, “Keys to Soil Taxonomy,” 4th Edition, SMSS, Technical monograph 19, Blacksburg, 1990.
[40] A. S. Al-Rimawi, “A Classification of Farm Holdings in Jordan by Rainfall Zones: Implications for Agricultural Policies,” Dirasat: Agricultural Sciences, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2003, pp. 261-273.
[41] J. T. Al-Bakri, A. Suleiman, F. Abdulla and J. Ayad, “Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the Rainfed Agriculture of a Semi-Arid Basin in Jordan,” Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Vol. 36, No. 5-6, 2011, pp. 125-134.
[42] M. M. Duqqah, “Treated Sewage Water Use in Irrigated Agriculture: Theoretical Design of Farming Systems in Seil Al Zarqa and the Middle Jordan Valley in Jordan,” PhD Thesis, Wageningen University, Wageningen, 2002.
[43] M. Atasoy, R. B. Palmquist and D. J. Phaneuf, “Estimating the Effects of Urban Residential Development on Water Quality Using Microdata,” Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 79, No. 4, 2006, pp. 339-408.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.