US scholar maps progress in India's night lightstext_fields
Washington: A US researcher has processed thousands of images taken by satellites every night from the last 20 years to show the electrification history of India.
In doing so, Brian Min, a professor of Political Science at University of Michigan has tracked satellite images of light output from more than 600,000 villages over 8,000 nights and more than 4.4 billion data points, a media release said.
"The project shows dramatic changes in the brightness of villages across India," said Min.
"While many rural areas in states like Punjab and Haryana have become much brighter, many states like Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have seen only small improvements in those decades," Min said.
While villages using cow dung and kerosene lamps for their lights has decreased from 1993 to 2013, there are still vast areas that remain in darkness, the researcher says.
The result is collected in a website nightlights.io created in partnership with the World Bank, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Development Seed.
It provides a fascinating perspective on the impact of the electrification projects and lets users zoom in on the state and district levels to see the change over the last couple of decades, the University said.
"Even a villager can now access the maps to see how electrification has impacted their village," said Min.
Interestingly, one can also see an increase in the light output around Hardoi, a city in Uttar Pradesh, when the state energy minister is elected from there.
"In India, issues like electrification are driven by political considerations," said Min.