Research on Sky View Factor in Urban Area Based on Urban Digital Elevation Model:A Case Study of Nanjing Old City

  • Key laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment, Ministry of Education, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210046, China

Received date: 2011-07-13

  Revised date: 2011-12-09

  Online published: 2012-02-24


The sky view factor (SVF) has been commonly used to describe the shadow impaction of visualization or sunshine from neighborhood buildings or terrains in urban area. It reflects the influences of urban geometry on the microclimate in an urban area. Firstly, we provided a comprehensive review of SVF analysis both in natural terrain and urban area studies. Then we presented a simulation approach based on shadow casting algorithm to calculate continuous SVF values. And, using raster-based data model we analysed the effect of sun shadow shading by neighbor buildings, simulated solar radiation for many times by continuing translation of the solar altitude and azimuth and calculated whether cells were in shadow. The ratio of simulation times and the times of a cell in shadow is considered as an approximate value of SVF. An ArcGIS-embedded computer program is developed and a SVF map for entire area is generated by using high resolution urban digital elevation model of Nanjing old city. Some areas representing different land use types in Nanjing old city are selected for analysis of the small-scale spatial variation of the SVF. The result illustrates that SVF decreases as building height raises or building quantity increases. Mean, maximum, minimum and standard deviation of SVF for each land use category within Nanjing old city are calculated and they are significantly different in different areas. The mean SVF values occurring in parks, open space and areas of historical and cultural value are higher than those of other land use types, which are more than 0.8. The mean SVF values occurring in community centers and residential areas are lower than those of other land use types, which are lower than 0.6. One of the most noticeable results is the unexpectedly higher mean SVF value in commercial areas than that in residential area in Nanjing old city. Meanwhile, spatial distribution pattern of SVF is derived by regarding block as a basic statistical unit. The mean values in the city centre are high while that in urban fringe are usually low. The blocks with high values line up in a northwest to southeast alignment, which may have an effect on urban microclimate.

Cite this article

HE Wenhui, YANG Xin, TANG Guoan, ZHOU Yi . Research on Sky View Factor in Urban Area Based on Urban Digital Elevation Model:A Case Study of Nanjing Old City[J]. Journal of Geo-information Science, 2012 , 14(1) : 94 -100 . DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1047.2012.00094


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