In India, unprecedented population growth coupled with unplanned developmental activities has led to urbanization, which lacks infrastructure facilities. This also has posed serious implications on the resource base of the region. The urbanization takes place either in radial direction around a well-established city or linearly along the highways. This dispersed development along highways, or surrounding the city and in rural countryside is often referred as sprawl. Some of the causes of the sprawl include – population growth, economy and proximity to resources and basic amenities. The direct implication of such urban sprawl is the change in land use and land cover of the region. The ability to service and develop land heavily influences the economic and environmental quality of life in towns. Identification of the patterns of sprawl and analyses of spatial and temporal changes would help immensely in the planning for proper infrastructure facilities.
Patterns of sprawl and analyses of spatial and temporal changes could be done cost effectively and efficiently with the help of spatial and temporal technologies such as Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) along with collateral data (such as Survey of India maps, etc.). GIS and remote sensing are land related technologies and are therefore very useful in the formulation and implementation of the land related component of the sustainable development strategy.
The spatial patterns of urban sprawl over different time periods, can be systematically mapped, monitored and accurately assessed from high resolution satellite data along with conventional ground data. Mapping urban sprawl provides a “picture” of where this type of growth is occurring, helps to identify the environmental and natural resources threatened by such sprawls, and to suggest the likely future directions and patterns of sprawling growth. Ultimately the power to manage sprawl resides with local municipal governments that vary considerably in terms of will and ability to address sprawl issues.