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Using Nighttime Satellite Imagery as a Proxy Measure of Human Well-Being
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
School of Natural and Built Environments and The Barbara Hardy Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide 5001, Australia
NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
Department of Geography, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 September 2013; in revised form: 8 October 2013 / Accepted: 4 November 2013 / Published: 26 November 2013
Abstract: Improving human well-being is increasingly recognized as essential for movement toward a sustainable and desirable future. Estimates of different aspects of human well-being, such as Gross Domestic Product, or percentage of population with access to electric power, or measuring the distribution of income in society are often fraught with problems. There are few standardized methods of data collection; in addition, the required data is not obtained in a reliable manner and on a repetitive basis in many parts of the world. Consequently, inter-comparability of the data that does exist becomes problematic. Data derived from nighttime satellite imagery has helped develop various globally consistent proxy measures of human well-being at the gridded, sub-national, and national level. We review several ways in which nighttime satellite imagery has been used to measure the human well-being within nations.
Keywords: nighttime lights imagery; LandScan population data; human well-being; Night Light Development Index (NLDI); Gross Domestic Product; informal economy; poverty rates; electrification rates; human ecological footprint
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Ghosh, T.; Anderson, S.J.; Elvidge, C.D.; Sutton, P.C. Using Nighttime Satellite Imagery as a Proxy Measure of Human Well-Being. Sustainability 2013, 5, 4988-5019.
Ghosh T, Anderson SJ, Elvidge CD, Sutton PC. Using Nighttime Satellite Imagery as a Proxy Measure of Human Well-Being. Sustainability. 2013; 5(12):4988-5019.
Ghosh, Tilottama; Anderson, Sharolyn J.; Elvidge, Christopher D.; Sutton, Paul C. 2013. "Using Nighttime Satellite Imagery as a Proxy Measure of Human Well-Being." Sustainability 5, no. 12: 4988-5019.