Friday, August 23, 2013

The Dark Side of Kim Jong-un


Due to the Perseid meteor shower I've found myself checking out the Blue Marble Night Lights Map quite a bit in the last two weeks. This Google Map is a composite map of satellite images taken at night and is a great guide to both patterns of urbanization and the problems of light pollution around the world.

Clusters of lights on the map don't always indicate urban areas on the map. For example, in the image above you can see the results of natural gas drilling in rural North Dakota. In the Korean Peninsula you can see almost the opposite effect where the urban areas of North Korea hardly register on the map at all, while South Korea is lit up spectacularly.


In Europe, the Po Valley in Italy and the country of Belgium seem to both have a particular problem with light pollution. Both areas seem to shine far brighter on the map than their relative population densities would suggest.

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