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Urban growth monitoring along Islamabad Highway through Satellite Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System

Study Objectives
The aim of this study is to observe the land cover & land use with the help of the knowledge of Satellite Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System. The study objectives were:
  • To utilize the knowledge of satellite remote sensing and GIS for the analysis of urban growth; changes in urban settlements, and to show the trend of urbanization.
  • To observe and analyze the extent of deforestation due to urban settlements.
  • To analyze the most efficient users of physical and financial resources at local level.
  • To observe the land cover land use.
  • By marking the urban agglomeration area, urban morphological zone can be observed and development of urban rural fringe.
Study Area
The study area comprised SPOT subscene, having area coverage of 117.2556 square kilometer. It includes a part of Capital City of Islamabad and the little part of Rawalpindi at the adjoining boundary.

Islamabad has a land area of 906 square kilometer (administrative area 220 sq.km, Margalla Hill National Park 220sq.km, and Rural Islamabad 466 sq.km) and a present population of 525,000 (1998 census with a growth rate of 5.15%). Islamabad city is a part of Potohar Plateaue and the height of the region ranges in between 502 to 609 meters above mean sea level. Islamabad is blessed with Margalla Hills National Park extending over an area of more than 220 square kilometers. Three dams including Khanpur, Rawal, and Simly dams exist in the region.

The Loi Bher Forest
Loi Bher Forest is 16km away from Rawalpindi and situated along Islamabad Highway. Loi Bher forest is an unclassed forest having an area of 1087 acres according to the survey of early 1970ís. The 200-acre area of the forest is under the control of Rawalpindi Development Authority.

A big current nullah is passing through it. The main crop of this forest is Achasia modesta (pallai: local name). It is divided into eight compartments based on natural boundary line. The surface soil of the forest is consisted of the alluvial deposits of sand and clay mixed with boulders, generally of small size. The rocks are exposed of at places. The slope is moderately steep. The artificial plantation is in 4 compartments out of 8 compartments and the field wood is exploited 300cft/acre.

The Wildlife Park is established in this forest. The forest provides the aesthetic sense to local habitant, regressional facilities, and pollution free environment. Besides, it provides fodder to local livestock and fuel wood. The nullah passing through it is beneficial for providing water to the livestock as well as local people.

Urban Area along Islamabad Highway
The Private organizations procure the land along Islamabad Highway from Capital Development Authority to develop the housing schemes. The area is under the control of CDA & RDA because of adjoining areas but the planning does not belong to CDA & RDA. The organizations planned the whole area for housing facilities.

The urbanization is spreading on the both sides of the Islamabad Highway and hence the boundaries of these colonies are joining to the rural locations of Islamabad Highway. This indicates the unplanned urbanization of study area. The colonies, which came under, this research along Islamabad Highway, are; Bahria Town, Doctors Town, Korang Town, Commoners Town, Pakistan Town, PWD Colony, Site for Swan Garden, River Garden, Police Foundation, Jubilee Town, Sihala, CBR Housing Schemes, Bankers Town, and Awan-e-Sadar Housing schemes.

The colonies, which are situated along Islamabad Highway and also join the Rawalpindi because of GT Road; Model Town, Jeddah Town, and Fatima Villa. The area is going to be developing on the highest rate because of Islamabad Highway, which is joined to Rawalpindi City and Grand Trunk Road.

Following satellite data, maps, and attributa data was used:
  1. The subscenes {satellite images (195/282, 196/283)} of SPOT P-mode (Panchromatic or Monochromatic Mode) of year 1992 and 2000.
  2. Existing Maps
    1. Topographic Map (Scale: 1:50,000) of year 1982
    2. Guide Map of Rawalpindi and Islamabad 1976
    3. Regional Map of urban area
  3. District Census Report
  4. The software used during this research was:
    1. ER Mapper
    2. Arc View 3.1
    3. AutoCAD Map 2000i

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