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Night-time lights are more strongly related to urban building volume than to urban area

Shi, Lingfei; Foody, Giles M.; Boyd, Doreen S.; Girindran, Renoy; Wang, Lihui; Du, Yun; Ling, Feng


Lingfei Shi

Professor of Geographical Information

Professor of Earth Observation

Renoy Girindran

Lihui Wang

Yun Du

Feng Ling


A strong relationship between night-time light (NTL) data and the areal extent of urbanized regions has been observed frequently. As urban regions have an important vertical dimension, it is hypothesized that the strength of the relationship with NTL can be increased by consideration of the volume rather than simply the area of urbanized land. Relationships between NTL and the area and volume of urbanized land were determined for a set of towns and cities in the UK, the conterminous states of the USA and countries of the European Union. Strong relationships between NTL and the area urbanized were observed, with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.9282 to 0.9446. Higher correlation coefficients were observed for the relationship between NTL and urban building volume, ranging from 0.9548 to 0.9604; The difference in the correlations obtained with volume and with area was statistically significant at the 95% level of confidence. Studies using NTL data may be strengthened by consideration of the volume rather than just area of urbanized land.


Shi, L., Foody, G. M., Boyd, D. S., Girindran, R., Wang, L., Du, Y., & Ling, F. (2020). Night-time lights are more strongly related to urban building volume than to urban area. Remote Sensing Letters, 11(1), 29-36.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 22, 2019
Online Publication Date Oct 28, 2019
Publication Date Jan 2, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 12, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 29, 2020
Journal Remote Sensing Letters
Print ISSN 2150-704X
Electronic ISSN 2150-7058
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 1
Pages 29-36
Keywords Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous); Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:; Received: 2019-07-25; Accepted: 2019-09-22; Published: 2019-10-28


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