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Proceedings Paper

Observational considerations for moderate resolution nighttime lights
Author(s): C. Elvidge; D. Pettit; M. Imhoff; R. Nemani; D. Pack; P. Cinzano
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Paper Abstract

A concept has been developed for a satellite sensor system capable of global observation of the location, extent and brightness of night-time lights at a spatial resolution suitable for the delineation of primary features within human settlements. Nightsat should be capable of producing a complete cloud-free global map of lights on an annual basis. We have used a combination field spectra of outdoor lighting, moderate resolution color photography of cities at night from the International Space Station, and high-resolution airborne camera imagery acquired at night to define a range of spatial, spectral, and detection limit options for a future Nightsat mission. Primary findings of our study are that Nightsat should collect data from a near-synchronous orbit in the mid-evening with 50 to 100 m spatial resolution, detection limits in the range of 10-8 watts/cm2/sr/um, and a capacity for in-flight radiometric calibration. Although panchromatic low-light imaging data would be useful, multispectral low-light imaging data would provide valuable information on the type or character of lighting; potentially stronger predictors of variables, such as ambient population density and economic activity. The Nightsat mission concept is unique in its focus on observing a human activity, in contrast to traditional Earth observing systems that focus on natural systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 August 2008
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7081, Earth Observing Systems XIII, 70810V (20 August 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.795537
Show Author Affiliations
C. Elvidge, NOAA National Geophysical Data Ctr. (United States)
D. Pettit, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
M. Imhoff, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
R. Nemani, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
D. Pack, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
P. Cinzano, Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7081:
Earth Observing Systems XIII
James J. Butler; Jack Xiong, Editor(s)

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