Global Nighttime Lights at ADM2-Level 1992-2013

This table contains yearly nighttime luminosity data for over 39,699 ADM2 areas in 190 countries for the years 1992-2013. The dataset contains names of the country, ADM1, and ADM2 subnational region, the average value of light pixels (mean_light) and the total value of light pixels (sum_light) in the ADM1 region.


Countrycode (ISO-3)
Name of ADM1 unit
Name of ADM2 unit
mean_light (Mean value of light pixel in ADM2. (Ranges from 0-63))
sum_light (Sum total of individual light pixel values in ADM2)

Data Sources:

  • The source raster data are geo-tiffs from NOAA’s NGDC Earth Observation Group (EOG):
  • The spatial boundary file is taken from the Global Administrative Boundaries Database: Version 1.0.

Data Processing:

  • We used the Average Visible, Stable Lights, & Cloud Free Coverages from the DMSP-OLS Nighttime Lights Time Series.
  • In cases where two satellites were collecting data, we used the one collected by the more recent satellite.
  • The variables “mean_light” and “sum_light” were constructed using the Zonal Statistics tool (Spatial Analyst) from ArcMap 9.3.
  • We used the Eckert VI equal-area projection.
  • This dataset was constructed in April 2014.



If you are using this data, please use ALL of the following citation:

Original Data:

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 2014. Version 4 DMSP-OLS Nighttime Lights Time Series. Boulder, CO: National Geophysical Data Center. Accessed January 2014.
  • GADM database of Global Administrative Areas,, Version 1 Accessed May 2012.

Zonal Statistics Calculations:


This dataset was constructed using financial support from the Australian Research Council (ARC DP120103492).

Download Dataset:



Creative Commons Licence
This data is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.