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Open AccessArticle

A Test of the New VIIRS Lights Data Set: Population and Economic Output in Africa

by Xi Chen 1,* and William Nordhaus 2
1
Department of Sociology, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT 06518, USA
2
Department of Economics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Christopher D. Elvidge, Janet Nichol and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2015, 7(4), 4937-4947; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs70404937
Received: 30 September 2014 / Accepted: 8 April 2015 / Published: 22 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing with Nighttime Lights)
The present study analyses the new Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) lights data to determine whether it can provide more accurate proxies for socioeconomic data in areas with poor quality data than proxies based on stable lights. Our analysis indicates that VIIRS lights are a promising supplementary source for standard measures on population and economic output at a small scale, especially for low population and economic density areas in Africa. The current analysis also suggests that in comparison to stable lights generated by the DMSP-OLS system, data generated by the VIIRS system provide more information to estimate population than output index. However, further analysis and formal statistical models are needed to evaluate the usefulness of VIIRS lights versus other lights products. With more advanced methods, there is also a potential to generate a synthetic index by combining different lights products to produce a better proxy measure for other indexes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) lights; nighttime lights; Africa; population; gross domestic product Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) lights; nighttime lights; Africa; population; gross domestic product
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Chen, X.; Nordhaus, W. A Test of the New VIIRS Lights Data Set: Population and Economic Output in Africa. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 4937-4947.

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