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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(9), 4551-4570; doi:10.3390/rs5094551

Detecting Zimbabwe’s Decadal Economic Decline Using Nighttime Light Imagery

1,* , 2
1 State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China 2 School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 August 2013 / Revised: 6 September 2013 / Accepted: 10 September 2013 / Published: 16 September 2013
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Zimbabwe’s economy declined between 2000 and 2009. This study detects the economic decline in different regions of Zimbabwe using nighttime light imagery from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS). We found a good correlation (coefficient = 0.7361) between Zimbabwe’s total nighttime light (TNL) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period 1992 to 2009. Therefore, TNL was used as an indicator of regional economic conditions in Zimbabwe. Nighttime light imagery from 2000 and 2008 was compared at both national and regional scales for four types of regions. At the national scale, we found that nighttime light in more than half of the lit area decreased between 2000 and 2008. Moreover, within the four region types (inland mining towns, inland agricultural towns, border towns and cities) we determined that the mining and agricultural sectors experienced the most severe economic decline. Some of these findings were validated by economic survey data, proving that the nighttime light data is a potential data source for detecting the economic decline in Zimbabwe.
Keywords: Zimbabwe; economic decline; nighttime light; DMSP-OLS Zimbabwe; economic decline; nighttime light; DMSP-OLS
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Li, X.; Ge, L.; Chen, X. Detecting Zimbabwe’s Decadal Economic Decline Using Nighttime Light Imagery. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 4551-4570.

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