Cities are complex systems composed of numerous interacting components that evolve over multiple spatio-temporal scales. Consequently, no single data source is sufficient to satisfy the information needs required to map, monitor, model, and ultimately understand and manage our interaction within such urban systems. Remote sensing technology provides a key data source for mapping such environments, but is not sufficient for fully understanding them. In this article we provide a condensed urban perspective of critical geospatial technologies and techniques: (i) Remote Sensing; (ii) Geographic Information Systems; (iii) object-based image analysis; and (iv) sensor webs, and recommend a holistic integration of these technologies within the language of open geospatial consortium (OGC) standards in-order to more fully understand urban systems. We then discuss the potential of this integration and conclude that this extends the monitoring and mapping options beyond “hard infrastructure” by addressing “humans as sensors”, mobility and human-environment interactions, and future improvements to quality of life and of social infrastructures.