The Earth Observation Group
(at the Colorado School of Mines
, formerly at the US National Centers for Environmental Information
) has long created night-lights maps of Earth (downloadable here
) by combining satellite data, which this site aims to make available using Google Maps' API
while Google doesn't incorporate this into their own offer.
Until 2011 saw the launch of a new satellite
, these night-lights mosaic pictures relied on technology from the 1970s (2.7 km per pixel). In 2012, NASA 'beautified' a mosaic of the new satellite sensor
's images (0.7 km per pixel) by colouring them yellow and putting them on a blue daytime
background. While the resulting picture (see "2012", downloadable here
) shows even villages' lights, subtle differences in cities are lost. Hence, the more recent imagery converted for this site (see "2017" and later) uses a different brightness mapping.
Make your choice using the following example pictures showing the eastern Mediterranean and the south-west of London:
While the above is unparalleled on a global scale, the astronauts on the ISS have taken some fascinating photos
at a higher resolution and with original colour like this one showing that Berlin is still divided in terms of street lighting