The Chilean capital of Santiago sits in the center of the Santiago Basin, a large bowl-shaped valley that consists of fertile lands surrounded by mountains. The city is bordered by the main chain of the Andes Mountains on the east and the Chilean Coastal Range on the west. 

The Santiago population has steadily increased over the years, and that has led to expanded development in all directions, including into the foothills of the mountain ranges. Increasingly, agricultural lands have been replaced by urban growth. 

Landsat data acquired in 1985 and 2010 illustrate the growth of the capital area. To accommodate the demands of a growing metropolitan area, the Santiago International Airport, which sits northwest of the city, was expanded in 1994. The Vespucio Norte and Vespucio Sur highways surround the city completing a nearly full circle. 

Landsat images are helpful to local and regional officials to monitor the rate and direction of urban growth as they make decisions about resources and land use changes near the mountain areas.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012