A recent JRC Technical Report describes a method to downscale residential population data to the level of Copernicus Urban Atlas polygons.
Urban Atlas 2012 is a powerful geographical dataset that describes land use/land cover at high spatial resolution for nearly 700 European Functional Urban Areas of more than 50,000 inhabitants in 31 European countries (EU28 + EFTA). The objective of the work described in the report was to enrich the Urban Atlas dataset by including estimates of residential population at the vector polygon level. The estimation was done by downscaling, or disaggregating, census population reported at country-specific geometries (‘source geometry’) to the Urban Atlas land use/land cover polygons (‘target geometry’). These newly released estimates represent a significant increase in spatial resolution, enabling diverse fine scale analyses for the whole Urban Atlas dataset. With the free-of-charge distribution of this dataset, available at the Copernicus Land website (http://land.copernicus.eu/local/urban-atlas/ancillary-data-on-population-estimates-by-urban-atlas-polygons/view), the number of potential users and applications of the Urban Atlas can further increase. Detailed maps of population density are very important for the study and characterisation of urban areas, and are essential inputs for urban and infrastructure planning and management, disaster risk assessment and mitigation, social policies, and analysis of quality of life and well-being. Moreover, this work further expands the knowledge base of JRC’s LUISA territorial modelling platform, used to assess regional and local impacts of European trends, policies and investment.