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Open AccessArticle

Ghost City Extraction and Rate Estimation in China Based on NPP-VIIRS Night-Time Light Data

Chongqing Engineering Research Center for Remote Sensing Big Data Application, School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AB, UK
School of civil engineering, Lanzhou University of Technology, Lanzhou 730050, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7(6), 219;
Received: 3 May 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
PDF [3865 KB, uploaded 15 June 2018]


The ghost city phenomenon is a serious problem resulting from the rapid urbanization process in China. Estimation of the ghost city rate (GCR) can provide information about vacant dwellings. This paper developed a methodology to quantitatively evaluate GCR values at the national scale using multi-resource remote sensing data. The Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership–Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer (NPP-VIIRS) night-time light data and moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) land cover data were used in the evaluation of the GCR values in China. The average ghost city rate (AGCR) was 35.1% in China in 2013. Shanghai had the smallest AGCR of 21.7%, while Jilin has the largest AGCR of 47.27%. There is a significant negative correlation between both the provincial AGCR and the per capita disposable income of urban households (R = −0.659, p < 0.01) and the average selling prices of commercial buildings (R = −0.637, p < 0.01). In total, 31 ghost cities are mainly concentrated in the economically underdeveloped inland provinces. Ghost city areas are mainly located on the edge of urban built-up areas, and the spatial pattern of ghost city areas changed in different regions. This approach combines statistical data with the distribution of vacant urban areas, which is an effective method to capture ghost city information. View Full-Text
Keywords: China; VIIRS night-time light; ghost city; vacant urban area China; VIIRS night-time light; ghost city; vacant urban area

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Ge, W.; Yang, H.; Zhu, X.; Ma, M.; Yang, Y. Ghost City Extraction and Rate Estimation in China Based on NPP-VIIRS Night-Time Light Data. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7, 219.

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