Light Pollution: The Role of GIS in Controlling Light Pollution

Abhijeet Modi/ November 20, 2021/ Blog

Excess use of artificial light can cause light pollution, which has negative impacts on the atmosphere, surroundings, and other environmental elements. The pollution is because of the outdoor lighting, which not only creates clutter but makes it really challenging for scientists to collect pictures of space and the celestial bodies.

It has become widely common in the 20th century since artificial lights have become extremely cheap and affordable. Plus, they are seen as a great way to light up homes, offices, commercial buildings, and nearly every space. GIS (geographic information system) coupled with several remote sensor tools are used to detect light pollution and the degradation effect it has on our environment. Not only does spatial technology help in the detection of light pollution, but it has proven a great way to realize the potential side effects of this pollution and what effects it has on earth.

Why Detect Light Pollution?

The visualization of light pollution means the implementation of techniques that can help calculate the direct and indirect light efficiently. This research helps you understand how light pollution evolves over time and how it takes place. The biggest advantage of light pollution detection and visualization is that it helps you understand the latest patterns in the pollution and compare them with the previous year’s data. This gives a comprehensive report of how the pollution occurs and the measures you can take to control it.

For example, the deployment of the technology in Sweden and Belgium showed clear signs of reduced light pollution. After they used the GIS remote sensors and spatial technology to identify the pollution patterns, the government of Northwestern Europe implemented plans to control pollution. For example, the fewer street lights and the use of dim lights at night became a new trend in these regions, controlling light pollution and lessening its degrading effects.

GIS and Light Pollution Detection

In other places, the light pollution declined due to the declining population in the regions and strict policy control measures. It is because of the GIS that we are able to measure the effects of light pollution, the area it has affected so far, and take necessary actions to control pollution. We have seen that Belgium has reported a reduction in the lighting and brightness, but its neighbor country France reported an increase in the brightness. The technology is extensively used in the measurement of light pollution.

Light pollution might not be as destructive as water and noise pollution, but it has serious impacts on human health and the entire ecology. The problem was identified as a serious issue in 2016 when the satellite photos revealed the light pollution in the world and how it caused a major disturbance in space. These reports clearly suggested that a few popular countries that produced the least amount of light pollution were Qatar, Kuwait, and Singapore. There is no denying that artificial lights, especially the excess use of this lighting, can wreak havoc on our environment and humans. That’s why pollution needs to be detected, and control measures must be taken to avoid light pollution.

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