Dynamics and spatial distribution of global nighttime lights
Department of Management, Technology and Economics, ETH Zurich, Scheuchzerstrasse 7, Zurich, CH-8092, Switzerland
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Accepted: 7 January 2014
Published online: 21 January 2014
Using open source data, we observe the fascinating dynamics of nighttime light. Following a global economic regime shift, the planetary center of light can be seen moving eastwards at a pace of about 60 km per year. Introducing spatial light Gini coefficients, we find a universal pattern of human settlements across different countries and see a global centralization of light. Observing 160 different countries we document the expansion of developing countries, the growth of new agglomerations, the regression in countries suffering from demographic decline and the success of light pollution abatement programs in western countries.
Key words: DMSP / NGDC / NOAA / nighttime light / light emission / Gini coefficients
© The Author(s), 2014