Use of GIS and Orthophotos In Spatio-Temporal Assessment of Land Uses And City Expansion: A Case of Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

  • Johane P Hlatywayo
  • Thomas Masvosve


Land use and land cover (LULC) is important in understanding the interactions of human activities with the  environment. In order to manage the often highly dynamic urban landscapes, it is important to map different  themes from time to time. This study made use of Geographical Information System and aerial photographs to determine LULC transformation in the eastern suburbs of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  Land use and land cover maps for the eastern suburbs (Copesville, Eastwood, Raisethorpe and Willowton) for  the years 1989 to 2009 were generated based on the twelve LULCs. Results in this study showed that the most significant increase were in residential (formal and informal) and industrial LULCs while the most significant  decrease were recorded in the cultivated and open LULC. Generally, results in this study further show that  urban LULC attributed to human influx has been at the expense of internal open green spaces and peripheral  cultivated and uncultivated lands. The study concludes that aerial photographs in concert with GIS are valuable tools in mapping rapidly changing urban landscapes.