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Novel data for a better urban future – ensuring data continuity with the Global Human Settlement Layer

Better information for better decisions

Thomas Kemper



Thursday, June 30, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 18
European Commission
Building Resilience for Sustainable Urban Futures
NE 198


This event will host the launch of the new Global Human Settlement Layer data release 2.0 (GHSL 2.0). The sustainability, resilience, and capacity to adapt human settlements to urban futures is essential for our society. Decision makers from the city to the international level use it to take decisions and shape urban futures. Geospatial information on human settlements helps making progress towards the New Urban Agenda, the SDGs, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement. Detailed and updated information on population, building stocks and settlement classification by Degree of Urbanisation produced by the Global Human Settlement Layer project at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre supports various applications across disaster risk management, sustainable development, urbanisation, environment, and sustainability. GHSL provides analysis ready geospatial data to derive human settlement statistics. When GHSL data were released at Habitat III, it pioneered in the offer of free and open global information on human settlements making information integration, harmonisation and redistribution spatially and temporally consistent. 

Human settlements will experience the effects of a changing climate, so data driven urban management (planning and governance) can help mitigating forecasted impacts and develop resilient urban futures. The GHSL 2.0 supports this with an improved spatial resolution, thanks to the use of the European Copernicus Sentinel satellites. The new data improve the thematic mapping of built-up surfaces separating residential from non-residential surfaces extending the temporal coverage, from 1975 to 2020 and projections to 2025 and 2030. To ensure that information is constantly updated and accurate, the Copernicus Programme will ensure an operational production of GHSL human settlement data for the future.


The objectives of the session are:

  • To launch the release of the Global Human Settlement Layer 2.0 suite of human settlements data mapping built-up surfaces, population, and settlements classification. GHSL is a global open and free dataset used for the Degree of Urbanisation method. The GHSL release 2.0 has improved thematic and spatial detail and has extended the time series from1975 to 2030.
  • To announce that the continuous update of the Global Human Settlement Layer will be provided by the Copernicus Program, making human settlements information always up to date.
  • To raise awareness about the use of geospatial information to foster sustainable and resilient human settlements and identify hotspots of unsustainable urbanisation across economic, social, and environmental dimensions.
  • Strengthen multi-level partnership among local regional and international stakeholders providing harmonised information locally detailed and internationally comparable


Session speakers

Mr. Thomas Kemper
Project Leader GHSL
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Mr. Stephen Quest
Director General
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Ms. Alice Siragusa
Project Leader URBAN2030
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Mr. Robert Ndugwa
Head of Data and Analytics Section
Mr. Michele Melchiorri
Project Officer Copernicus GHSL
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Mrs. Katarzyna Goch
GIS Analyst
ARHS Developments SA
Mr. Lewis Dijkstra
Head of the Economic Analysis Sector
European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy
Mr. Paolo Veneri