Recent studies have demonstrated the utility of nighttime environmental products derived from the Suomi-NPP Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite’s (VIIRS) Day/Night Band (DNB) to develop metrics and indicators that can help decision makers implement positive and sustainable actions to build smarter and more resilient cities. Furthermore, compared to heritage observations derived from the heritage Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Operational Line Scanner (DMSP/OLS), Suomi-NPP significantly improves upon existing nighttime environmental monitoring capabilities in terms of radiometric accuracy, spatial resolution, and geometric performance.
 
To enable the use of these observations in the context of GEO's Human Planet initiative, nighttime product accuracy must first be estimated over multiple locations and time periods by comparison with reference in-situ or other suitable data sources. A complete characterization of uncertainties in the nighttime products themselves must also be established to understand how much of the variations in the satellite observations are due to sensor performance, geometry, seasonal, and other artifacts driven by natural processes.
 
In this context, we propose to form a cross-cutting activity under the auspices of GEO's Human Planet Initiative. The Nighttime Product Validation Task (NPV) will be dedicated to the uncertainty assessment of nighttime lights through validation – the process of comparing satellite-derived products to independent reference data. Key to this framework will be the establishment of a good practice protocol to evaluate the quality and character of the nighttime lights products, in a traceable way, by employing international guidelines. The proposed protocol, a first of its kind for the nighttime remote sensing discipline, will be built upon existing reference datasets, ground-based networks, and strategic partnerships.  
 
We will also evaluate the daily VIIRS nighttime lights product's effectiveness for improving the accuracy and frequency of population estimations derived from datasets available through NASA's Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center. In particular, the sensitivity of population estimates to the temporal dynamics of human activity will be evaluated by analyzing events surrounding survey or enumeration dates contemporaneous to data from the VIIRS DNB record (2012- ).
 
The proposal team will also advise the NASA program and GEO Human Planet stakeholders as to the proper usage of the NASA VIIRS nighttime products in their own areas of specialty.