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Potential of Night-Time Lights to Measure Regional Inequality

Faculty of Geography, Babeş-Bolyai University, 5-7 Clinicilor street, 400006 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
World and Regional Economics Department, University of Miskolc, 3515 Miskolc-Egyetemváros, Hungary
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 33;
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 10 December 2019 / Accepted: 18 December 2019 / Published: 20 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue EO Solutions to Support Countries Implementing the SDGs)
Night-time lights satellite images provide a new opportunity to measure regional inequality in real-time by developing the Night Light Development Index (NLDI). The NLDI was extracted using the Gini coefficient approach based on population and night light spatial distribution in Romania. Night-time light data were calculated using a grid with a 0.15 km2 area, based on Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) /Operational Linescan System (OLS satellite imagery for the 1992–2013 period and based on the National Polar-orbiting Partnership–Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (NPP-VIIRS) satellite imagery for the 2014–2018 period. Two population density grids were created at the level of equal cells (0.15 km2) using ArcGIS and PostgreSQL software, and census data from 1992 and 2011. Subsequently, based on this data and using the Gini index approach, the Night Light Development Index (NLDI) was calculated within the MATLAB software. The NLDI was obtained for 42 administrative counties (nomenclature of territorial units for statistics level 3 (NUTS-3 units)) for the 1992–2018 period. The statistical relationship between the NLDI and the socio-economic, demographic, and geographic variables highlighted a strong indirect relationship with local tax income and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The polynomial model proved to be better in estimating income based on the NLDI and R2 coefficients showed a significant improvement in total variation explained compared to the linear regression model. The NLDI calculated on the basis of night-time lights satellite images proved to be a good proxy for measuring regional inequalities. Therefore, it can play a crucial role in monitoring the progress made in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 10 (reduced inequalities). View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development goals (SDG); regional inequality; night-time lights (NTL); Night Light Development Index sustainable development goals (SDG); regional inequality; night-time lights (NTL); Night Light Development Index
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ivan, K.; Holobâcă, I.-H.; Benedek, J.; Török, I. Potential of Night-Time Lights to Measure Regional Inequality. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 33.

AMA Style

Ivan K, Holobâcă I-H, Benedek J, Török I. Potential of Night-Time Lights to Measure Regional Inequality. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(1):33.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ivan, Kinga, Iulian-Horia Holobâcă, József Benedek, and Ibolya Török. 2020. "Potential of Night-Time Lights to Measure Regional Inequality" Remote Sensing 12, no. 1: 33.

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