Satellite inventory of human settlements using nocturnal radiation emissions: a contribution for the global toolchest


Christopher D. Elvidge tel +1/303-497-6121, fax +1/


Time series data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) have been used to derive georeferenced inventories of human settlements for Europe, North and South America, and Asia. The visible band of the OLS is intensified at night, permitting detection of nocturnal visible-near infrared emissions from cities, towns, and villages. The time series analysis makes it possible to eliminate ephemeral VNIR emission sources such as fire and to normalize for differences in the number of cloud-free observations. An examination of the area lit (km2) for 52 countries indicates the OLS derived products may be used to perform the spatial apportionment of population and energy related greenhouse gas emissions.