Monday, January 04, 2010

Ireland's housing boom as seen from space

Ireland's housing boom can be seen clearly in this very impressive visualisation based on satellite images which I came across the other day:

This image shows the change in surface lights in Ireland between 1992 and 2008 - and the growth of towns dotted all over Ireland can be seen clearly in red, as well as the expanding motorway network (especially on the east coast between Dublin and Drogheda).

According to the image's creator Chris Elvidge at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who has kindly given me permission to show it here...
The red and orange areas had large growth in lighting from 1992 to 2008. The black areas saturated the sensor in both years - no change in lighting can be detected. Gray - blue/gray areas had dim lighting detected in both years.
He goes on to explain that...
I made the image here using data from the DMSP archive. DMSP is the U.S. Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. These satellite carry an instrument called the Operational Linescan System (OLS), which collects low light imaging data at night for the detection of moonlit clouds.
I first saw this image in the January 2010 issue of the BBC Sky at Night magazine where they were talking about mapping "dark sky" areas which would make good spots for star gazing. As one of the many people who got a telescope for Christmas I've been reading the magazine for hints and tips - not a bad way to round off the International Year of Astronomy. But one mystery remains - I can't quite understand how Ireland has been historically strong in astronomy given the amount of cloudy nights we have here!

1 comment:

  1. It would be very interesting to map this alongside falls in house prices from peak to trough (whenever that happens) - the daft database can go down to the level of 4000+ areas around the country for all properties (and indeed to geo-coordinates for a good chunk of properties).

    It is my suspicion that Section 23 disease will be one of the key determinants of how far prices fall in particular areas.