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The Operational Linescan System (OLS) onboard the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) group of satellites, unlike other passive remote sensing sensors, is capable of recording the emissions from artificial lights on the earth surface. Along with detecting light from forest fires, shipping fleets and gas flares, the OLS sensor also records the light emitted from cities at night. This paper reports on a study that uses the DMSP Operational Linescan (DMSP-OLS) images with fixed gain settings of 20 dB and 50 dB to model selected metrics used in the Indian census for the state of Maharashtra. The study firstly looks into the utility of non-composited single fixed gain radiance calibrated DMSP-OLS products for proposing a method which might help to build a surrogate method for Indian census. Several parameters are considered in this analysis, with detailed focus on population density, total population and proportion of households with electricity access for 35 districts within the state of Maharashtra. Results show that spatial scale plays an important role in selection of the images and gains. Secondly, this study provides a relative assessment of gain setting for the DMSP-OLS images in an urban Indian context. Images with a gain of 50 dB prove suitable for larger areas while those with a gain of 20 dB give better results at a smaller spatial scale. Statistical analysis and residual maps of spatial distribution of total population and population density validate the result.