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Nighttime Satellite Imagery

Our research in the area of urban metabolism identifies and documents how the improved spatial and spectral resolution of nighttime satellite imagery derived data products informs our understanding of the human-environment-sustainability problematic as it pertains to the following: urban growth and land use patterns, mapping and monetizing the human ecological footprint, and characterizing the megapolitan-urban-exurban gradient and its impacts on ecosystem function, habitat fragmentation, and ecosystem services. We have been using data products derived from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP OLS) for myriad applications.  This is evolving into work using the data products derived from the VIIRS platform. This work has contributed to the justification for the aforementioned NightSat mission. The coarse spatial and spectral resolution of the DMSP OLS presents many uncertainties with respect to spatial and radiometric accuracy of the sensor. Some relevant papers are here: