Evaluation of Land Use/Cover Change and Urban Sprawling Pattern Using Remote Sensing and GIS: A Case Study in Thimphu, Bhutan

Leki Dorji, Sangay Kumar Shukla, Dorji Wangchuk, Karma Tandin Dorji, Kencho Gyeltshen, Nimesh Chettri*, Komal Raj Aryal, Khameis Mohamed Al Abdouli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The urbanisation and multifarious upsurge of infrastructures in Bhutan have caused intense alteration of land cover topographies. These rapid changes undergoing are predominately snow cover, vegetation, water bodies, built-up, barren land, and agricultural land which are commonly called land use/land cover (LULC) change. The current research attempts to analyse concerning temporal and spatial frameworks features to observe the nature of development sprawling processes of Thimphu over 30 years (1990-2020), by using multi-temporal remote sensing data. Landsat 5, 7 and sentinel 2B imageries have been adopted for estimating land use/cover change in Thimphu for the past 30 years. The confusion matrix and Kappa coefficient methods were adopted for the classification accuracy assessment. This is further validated by field visit essentially on water bodies and barren land which were quite perplexing. The paper concludes that the largest proportion of the area (65.97%) in 1990 was under vegetation cover, followed by barren land (31.63%) and the third biggest (1.39%) was under snow cover. The current research will provide significant aid to the planners and architects to understand the pattern of development sprawling in the past and facilitate futuristic mapping the developmental activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2572-2579
Number of pages8
JournalCivil Engineering and Architecture
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author is thankful to College of Science and Technology, Royal University of Bhutan, Phuentsholing 21101, for assisting the project through providing essential reviews timely. We exuberantly thank the management of Phuentsholing Thromde (city) for their support during the entire phase of project. Heartful gratitude to all agencies for aiding us with data acquisition. The data is a record of consultancy services carried out by the authors and fund were covered from it. The author appreciates Mr. Tshewang Gepo, Chief Urban Planner, Phuentsholing Thromde for providing data and Ms. Divya Chhetri and reviewers for their insightful comments on manuscript.
Copyright: Copyright©2022 by authors, all rights reserved. Authors agree that this article remains permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License


  • Confusion Matrix
  • Kappa Coefficient
  • Land Use Land Cover Change
  • Landsat Image
  • Maximum Likelihood Supervised Classification


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