Date of Award
Sharolyn Anderson, Ph.D.
DMSP, Nighttime Lights
Nighttime satellite imagery from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) has a unique capability to observe nocturnal light emissions from sources including cities, wild fires, and gas flares. Data from the DMSP OLS is used in a wide range of studies including mapping urban areas, estimating informal economies, and estimating urban populations. Given the extensive and increasing list of applications a repeatable method for assessing geolocation accuracy, performing inter-calibration, and defining the minimum detectable brightness would be beneficial. An array of portable lights was designed and taken to multiple field sites known to have no other light sources. The lights were operated during nighttime overpasses by the DMSP OLS and observed in the imagery. A first estimate of the minimum detectable brightness is presented based on the field experiments conducted. An assessment of the geolocation accuracy was performed by measuring the distance between the GPS measured location of the lights and the observed location in the imagery. A systematic shift was observed and the mean distance was measured at 2.9km. A method for in situ radiance calibration of the DMSP OLS using a ground based light source as an active target is presented. The wattage of light used by the active target strongly correlates with the signal measured by the DMSP OLS. This approach can be used to enhance our ability to make inter-temporal and inter-satellite comparisons of DMSP OLS imagery. Exploring the possibility of establishing a permanent active target for the calibration of nocturnal imaging systems is recommended. The methods used to assess the minimum detectable brightness, assess the geolocation accuracy, and build inter-calibration models lay the ground work for assessing the energy expended on light emitted into the sky at night. An estimate of the total energy consumed to light the night sky globally is presented.
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Tuttle, Benjamin Taylor, "Aladdin's Magic Lamp: Developing Methods for Calibration and Geolocation Accuracy Assessment of the DMSP OLS" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 941.
Received from ProQuest
Benjamin Taylor Tuttle
Geography, Geographic Information Science and Geodesy, Remote Sensing