New Space and Tech

Citizen Science To Assess Light Pollution With Mobile Phones

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
October 29, 2022
Filed under , , , ,
Citizen Science To Assess Light Pollution With Mobile Phones
Top row: Three examples of light source location by means of our algorithm. Bottom row: The area in the rectangle of the image above is cropped and the circle in the bottom right corner shows the colour assigned to each lamp. — astro-ph.IM

The analysis of the colour of artificial lights at night has an impact on diverse fields, but current data sources have either limited resolution or scarce availability of images for a specific region.

In this work, we propose crowdsourced photos of streetlights as an alternative data source: for this, we designed NightUp Castelldefels, a pilot for a citizen science experiment aimed at collecting data about the colour of streetlights. In particular, we extract the colour from the collected images and compare it to an official database, showing that it is possible to classify streetlights according to their colour from photos taken by untrained citizens with their own smartphones.

We also compare our findings to the results obtained from one of the current sources for this kind of study. The comparison highlights how the two approaches give complementary information about artificial lights at night in the area. This work opens a new avenue in the study of the colour of artificial lights at night with the possibility of accurate, massive and cheap data collection.

Gorka Muñoz-Gil, Alexandre Dauphin, Federica A. Beduini, Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2210.11140 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2210.11140v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Journal reference: Remote Sensing, 14(19), 4976
Related DOI:
Focus to learn more
Submission history
From: Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel
[v1] Thu, 20 Oct 2022 10:08:15 UTC (15,616 KB)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.