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September 01, 2017

Analysis of Satellite Imagery for Volume II of the Economic Survey 2017

IDFC Institute’s work on Urban Definitions and Mapping India’s Urbanisation was included in the 2nd Volume of the Economic Survey released by the Union Ministry of Finance in August 2017. The document here provides the relevant pages from the survey featuring our work. The full Economic Survey document is available on the Ministry website


We used large volumes of satellite imagery and machine learning techniques to map urbanisation across India over the past four decades. Through this work we find that India is a lot more urbanised than traditional measures and demonstrate how we can use publically-available spatial data to better plan for urban growth and infrastructure development.


See this tool to explore the data in detail.


See this piece in Mint describing this work.

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