Airbus Defence and Space

7 billion people living on Earth

The rapid growth in the human population in recent decades has been accompanied by a noticeable migration from rural areas to the cities, especially in the emerging economies, as confirmed by satellite images of the world’s major conurbations.

According to UN statistics, 50% of the world’s population today is concentrated in urban settlements. This figure is expected to rise to 65% by the year 2050, compared with 35% in 1950.

The allocation of land use and the development of infrastructure, combined with efforts to protect the environment in the face of this demographic evolution of the urban population, present an ongoing challenge to government agencies and local authorities throughout the world.

Satellite images furnished by the space industry have become an essential resource for monitoring these changes and anticipating future developments. The animation depicting the evolution of selected major cities over the past 20 years is an example of how satellite images can provide a global view of the changes that have taken place in a specific region over a given period and their impact on the environment. They enable policy-makers to decide on the best solution for creating and monitoring urban development programs, set up a land-use database, and plan and optimise demographic surveys of urban growth.

Airbus Defence and Space Satellite images of big cities around the world

















Airbus Defence and Space offers a wide range of space imagery services specifically designed for land-use management. On the basis of images captured by satellites operated by Airbus Defence and Space, the company’s geo-information specialists can supply professional users with the data and applications they need to map and follow the process of urban development and construct models for use in their planning activities. More information is available at

More information about Airbus Defence and Space Geo Information Services for land-use management