I usually work with daytime satellite images to do some image classification (mostly Landsat data from the USGS EarthExplorer). Right now I'd like to check at some night time images to work on city lights but I don't know which data sets or web services I should take a look at. Ideally, I'd like it to be a data set with long historical data 1970s-now but everything is welcome. Any ideas please?

  • I think this question would be better asked at the Open Data Stack Exchange.
    – PolyGeo
    Feb 2, 2017 at 10:05

1 Answer 1


You can use data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, but it is quite recent (since 2012). e.g ftp://ftp-npp.class.ngdc.noaa.gov/20150611/VIIRS-SDR/VIIRS-Day-Night-Band-SDR/

For longer time series, you can use NOAA DMSP datasets (1992-2013)

  • Thank you Radouxju. I downloaded one series from the NOAA DMSP. It is a good start but the resolution is way too low for me (30 arc second). I tried to download from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership but I coudn't find it. I hope there are some other options!
    – Albert
    Aug 31, 2015 at 15:38
  • for long time series, I am afraid that there is nothing else (to the best of my knowledge). Satellites like ASTER are able to provide nightime images, but this is based on "on demand" acquisition, and usually focusing on TIR (visible artificial light is not as bright as the sunlight, so you need high sensor sensitivity to acquire image at night).
    – radouxju
    Sep 1, 2015 at 11:32
  • 1
    If you care to calibrate the NOAA DMSP OLS derived night-time lights time series, you might be interested in a GRASS GIS add-on that implements well known calibration models: gitlab.com/NikosAlexandris/i.nightlights.intercalibration (or trac.osgeo.org/grass/browser/grass-addons/grass7/imagery/…). Sep 8, 2015 at 6:34

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