Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2003, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (6): 893-902.doi: 10.11821/xb200306013

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Application of Compound Night Light Index Derived from DMSP/OLS Data to Urbanization Analysis in China in the 1990s

ZHUO Li1, SHI Peijun1, CHEN Jin1,2, ICHINOSE Toshiaki2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education of China, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    2. Japan National Institute of Environmental Studies, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba, 305-8506, Japan
  • Received:2003-06-15 Revised:2003-09-10 Online:2003-11-25 Published:2003-11-25
  • Supported by:

    National Key Project for Basic Research, No.G2000018604


This paper presented compounded night light index (CNLI) derived from DMSP/OLS data which were pre-processed by Japan National Institute of Environmental Studies for regional urbanization level estimation considering the light spatial distribution and intensity. The correlation analyses between light indices and composite urbanization indices were carried out at provincial level and county level. They can also be carried out in other scales if appropriate census data are available. The results show that there were significant relationships between the two kinds of indices. The regression models at provincial scale and county scale for composite urbanization index estimation using CNLI were also developed. It suggests that CNLI is an effective and applicable index for regional urbanization analysis and monitoring. Analysis of the changes of CNLI, S and I in China during the period 1992-1998 showed that the imbalance of urbanization level in China was obvious. It was higher in the east and lower in the west. Urbanization level was improved largely during 1992-1998, but the speed and the type of development were different.

Key words: urbanization level, DMSP/OLS, light index, CNLI, the 1990s, China