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New Nighttime Map Shows Earth in Whole New Light – Comparing satellite data from 2012 and 2016 reveals where the planet has dimmed and brightened.
Earlier this month, when NASA released a new global mosaic of Earth’s night-lights based on images collected throughout 2016, cartographer John Nelson was intrigued by the comparison with the 2012 mosaic. NASA’s image sliders, which show a spot of Earth from both of those time periods, revealed changes in the quantity or brightness of lights.
Nelson, a cartographer at the mapping-software company Esri, compared the equivalent pixels on two different maps and calculated the difference by subtracting the brightness value of one from the other. He then mapped those differences, showing places where the 2016 mosaic was brighter in blue, and places that had dimmed in pink.