Satellite based night lights data as an indicator of general socio-economic development of regions of Russia
The possibilities of evaluation of the main socio-economic indicators of Russian regions based on the analysis of night lights satellite data DMSP/OLS were analyzed. We used an archive of satellite data for the period from 1993 to 2013 and statistical data on the number of urban, rural population and the gross regional product of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. Satellite data were previously smoothed based on a specially developed approach. It was found that DMSP/OLS night lights satellite data correlate with indicators characterizing the social and economic state of Russian regions and can be used as a proxy for monitoring the general state of the regions. The most reliable indicator characterizing the regional gross product is the night lights of urban areas. The average night lights for the regions is well correlated with the total population and the number of urban population in the regions. The ranking of regions of Russia on the specifics of the change in the indicators of night lights has been carried out. A satellite analysis of the night lights of Russian regions showed that from 1993 to 2001-2002, the socio-economic situation in most regions worsened, and since 2002, a positive trend has emerged in most regions.