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Nighttime Lights of the World

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  Download Global Product in GEO-TIFF format, (43200w x 21600h)
  • year 1993
  • year 2003
  • Legend for image
    Nighttime lights percentage
         new lights
         high intensity increased
         low intensity increased
         high intensity unchanged
         average intensity unchanged
         low intensity unchanged
         low intensity decreased
         high intensity decreased
         extinct lights

    The Nighttime Lights of the World dataset contains the first satellite-based global inventory of human settlements,derived from nighttime data from the Defense Meteorological SatelliteProgram (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS). The DMSP-OLS has the unique capability to observe faint sourcesof visible-near infrared emissions present at the Earth's surface, including cities, towns, villages, gas flares,and fires. NGDC has developed algorithms for producing georeferenced fire and nighttime lights products.

    For specific information on algorithms and dataset production, see our references page.
    Send questions or comments about the Nighttime Lights program to

    Last updated: October, 2004