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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(4), 588; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10040588

Long-Term Monitoring of the Impacts of Disaster on Human Activity Using DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data: A Case Study of the 2008 Wenchuan, China Earthquake

1
Key Laboratory of Earthquake Geodesy, Institute of Seismology, China Earthquake Administration, NO. 40 Hongshance Road, Wuhan 430071, China
2
Key Laboratory for Geographical Process Analysis & Simulation of Hubei Province/School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Central China Normal University, NO. 152 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430079, China
3
The Third Academy of Engineering of Surveying and Mapping in Sichuan Province, NO. 2 Xinjun Road in Xindu District, Chengdu 610500, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract

Time series monitoring of earthquake-stricken areas is significant in evaluating post-disaster reconstruction and recovery. The time series of nighttime light (NTL) data collected by the defense meteorological satellite program-operational linescan system (DMSP/OLS) sensors provides a unique and valuable resource to study changes in human activity (HA) because of the long period of available data. In this paper, the DMSP/OLS NTL images’ digital number (DN) is used as a proxy for the intensity of HA since there is a high correlation between them. The purpose of this study is to develop a methodology to analyze the changes of intensity and distribution of HA in different areas affected by a 2008 earthquake in Wenchuan, China. In order to compare the trends of HA before and after the earthquake, the DMSP/OLS NTL images from 2003 to 2013 were processed and analyzed. However, their analysis capability is greatly limited owing to a lack of in-flight calibration. To improve the continuity and comparability of DMSP/OLS NTL images, this study developed an automatic intercalibration method to systematically correct NTL data. The results reveal that: (1) compared with the HA before the earthquake, the reconstruction and recovery of the Wenchuan earthquake have led to a significant increase of HA in earthquake-stricken areas within three years after the earthquake; (2) the fluctuation of HA in a severely-affected area is greater than that in a less-affected area; (3) recovery efforts increase development in the most affected areas to levels that exceeded the rates in similar areas which experienced less damage; and (4) areas alongside roads and close to reconstruction projects exhibited increased development in regions with otherwise low human activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: Wenchuan earthquake; nighttime light; intercalibration; human activity; reconstruction and recovery Wenchuan earthquake; nighttime light; intercalibration; human activity; reconstruction and recovery
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Li, X.; Zhan, C.; Tao, J.; Li, L. Long-Term Monitoring of the Impacts of Disaster on Human Activity Using DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data: A Case Study of the 2008 Wenchuan, China Earthquake. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 588.

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