NASA's Earth Lights map: Interesting observations

NASA's Virtual Earth has many interesting images.One of them is a composite night time earth lights. Some interesting observations on this image:

  • Look at the Nile as it traverses Egypt. See how dense the population is along its shores.
  • The same density is on the southern coast of France, and east coast of Italy, but not to the same continuity on the West coast.
  • From Moscow going east, there is a continuum of cities all the way to the Pacific coast, probably facilitated by railroads.
  • The old Silk Road is evident from Eastern Iran to the Ferghana Valley going east, with a slight breakage then to China.
  • Japan has very high density.
  • India and eastern China are both very densely populated (no wonder when they hold 40% of the world population combined).
  • What is unusual is the availability of electric power throughout India and Eastern China.
  • America's East coast and midwest are very densely populated. The West coast is also that way, but between the midwest and the West coast, there is relatively sparse area.
  • The East coast of South America is very dense. The same goes for the northern part. Between them, there is the large Amazon forest.
  • In Africa, the highly populated areas are the north West, north East, and South Africa. Apart from a few other single cities (Khartoum), Africa is largely devoid of city lights.
  • In the oceans there are many islands that have electricity and lights.
  • The Arabian peninsula seems to be more inhabited than one would expect. Even more than the Sahara desert in Africa. The exception is the Empty Quarter (Al-Rub' Al Khali).