Night on South Korea: Unraveling the relationship between urban development patterns and DMSP-OLS night-time lights

Mingyu Kang, Meen Chel Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Using artificial light data measured from satellites has the potential to change research methods in geography and urban planning. The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Optical Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) night-time light datasets provided consistent and valuable data sources for investigating urbanization processes. This study intends to empirically investigate the relationship between night-time lights, population, and urban development patterns. A novel protocol was developed to integrate heterogeneous datasets into a standardized unit of analysis. Multivariate mixed-effects models were applied to detect correlations within and between provinces in South Korea. To capture physical variations of urban development, four landscape metrics were used and tested in the analyses. Diminishing returns of night-time lights to population were found in all models. In single landscape metric models, all coefficients of landscape metrics were positively related to night-time lights. In combination models, the aggregation index (AI) was no longer statistically significant. The protocol developed in this study provides an effective way to create analytical units for integrating heterogeneous forms of data. Creating standardized units of analyses will make it possible for researchers to compare their results with other studies. Landscape metrics used in this study for capturing the composition and configuration of urban development patterns will enrich the discussion in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2140
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number18
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • City size
  • Land cover
  • Moving window
  • Satellite imagery
  • Urban scaling law


Dive into the research topics of 'Night on South Korea: Unraveling the relationship between urban development patterns and DMSP-OLS night-time lights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this