Urban Heat Islands

Urban Heat Islands, Harris Geospatial Solutions

The GeoService Urban Heat Islands (UHI) can be used to quickly locate and quantify UHIs within an area of interest and create standardized reports (PDF or GeoTIFF). These low-cost reports can be used by agencies, governments and companies to study thermal impacts for smart city projects and landscape planning. The Service makes it easy to check climate characteristics, see thermal emission peaks for any city in the world.


Recommended use

UHIs are a measurable phenomenon that causes temperatures in urban areas to spike more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the surrounding suburban and rural areas. This phenomenon is caused by radiated heat from man-made surfaces such as buildings, roads, and other structures. In addition, the radiated heat is itself often magnified due to impeded airflow by tall buildings, traffic congestion, and the lack of vegetation in urban areas.

According to the EPA, communities that experience increased temperatures due to the UHI effect consequently have increased energy demand, an underlying factor for air pollution. Further, higher temperatures in urban areas are also associated with increased greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illnesses, and water quality issues.

In order to mitigate the effects of UHIs, it is first necessary to locate and quantify those areas. Previously, this type of information on thermal anomalies within urban areas required time-consuming data searches and expensive on-site surveys. Now, the UHI GeoService offers quick and easy access to this information and delivers the results in a standardized and cost-efficient format.

The UHI GeoService not only provides essential localized information on seasonal thermal variations, but also detects temperature peaks. This information can serve as a foundation for the further assessment of heat loss from buildings and roads, as well as changes in air quality and urban climate. With the UHI GeoService, research organizations, as well as real estate, construction and insurance companies can quickly access and evaluate an urban development project and simplify the estimation of wasted heat and energy consumption for an urban area. Governments can use the GeoService UHI to secure air quality for their citizens, reduce the compounded impacts of global climate change on urban areas, and to preserve the environment and promote sustainable development.

Use Urban Heat Islands to:

  • Monitor heat loss from buildings and roads
  • Determine thermal emission peaks
  • Support urban planning projects and landscape management
  • Examine energy consumption, waste heat and urban climatology
  • Assist in the determination of air pollutants and greenhouse gases

The UHI application uses space-borne sensors and can be applied for any city in the world. The thermal peaks overlay a basemap which is used for locational reference, visual assessment and further analysis. The comparison with measurements from the government in Berlin show the high correlation between in situ measurements and the space borne analysis.

Product description 

The UHI GeoService is based on peer-reviewed scientific methods and has been implemented using state-of-the-art geospatial data processing tools and architecture. UHI maps identify thermal peaks and thermal variation by using series of images within the selected analysis period. The thermal peaks overlay a basemap which is used for locational reference, visual assessment and further analysis.

The UHI GeoService is based on Landsat-8 satellite imagery. The resolution of the map is determined by the resolution of this satellite imagery. The 16-day revisit time of Landsat-8 defines the maximum number of available images within the selected time period. However, if the cloud coverage is above 20% for a specific image, it will be discarded and thus the total number of selected scenes, used for the map generation, will be reduced. A minimum of one scene is sufficient for generating an UHI map.

The UHI GeoService consists of the following output files:

  • UHI image (GeoTIFF)*
  • UHI map (PNG)*
  • UHI map (PDF)*

*All output files are distributed as single integrated ZIP file.

Please login to select options

Start date
E.g., 2019-06-26
Urban Heat Islands



Powered by 

Landsat-8, Harris Geospatial Services Framework (GSF)

On demand 



30 m

Access mode 




Delivery time 

A few hours


Configure and order 

  • Area of interest (AOI): Use the map to define your AOI.
  • Start date: Select a date at least 6 months in the past. All suitable imagery after that date and within the analysis period will be used for the statistics.
  • Analysis period: The analysis period is set to 6 months.
  • Remarks: Please enter your desired map title (max 20 letters) here.

Please note 

Please let us know if you encounter any problems at service@cloudeo-ag.com. Our GeoExperts are standing by to optimize the product configuration according to your needs. We are happy to get your feedback.

  • UHI GeoService uses a robust algorithm that performs well for most conditions; however, if there is a lack of satellite imagery with low cloud cover the reliability of the method is limited.
    We provide the number of used scenes together with the resulting UHI map.
  • The PDF and PNG files are limited to an area of 900 km2 calculated from the center of your AOI. The TIF image covers your complete selection.

Pricing / Licensing