A hyperspectral survey of New York City lighting technology

Gregory Dobler, Masoud Ghandehari, Steven E. Koonin, Mohit S. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using side-facing observations of the New York City (NYC) skyline, we identify lighting technologies via spectral signatures measured with Visible and Near Infrared (VNIR) hyperspectral imaging. The instrument is a scanning, single slit spectrograph with 872 spectral channels from 0.4–1.0 μm. With a single scan, we are able to clearly match the detected spectral signatures of 13 templates of known lighting types. However, many of the observed lighting spectra do not match those that have been measured in the laboratory. We identify unknown spectra by segmenting our observations and using Template-Activated Partition (TAP) clustering with a variety of underlying unsupervised clustering methods to generate the first empirically-determined spectral catalog of roughly 40 urban lighting types. We show that, given our vantage point, we are able to determine lighting technology use for both interior and exterior lighting. Finally, we find that the total brightness of our scene shows strong peaks at the 570 nm Na-II, 595 nm Na-II and 818 nm Na-I lines that are common in high pressure sodium lamps, which dominate our observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2047
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 5 2016


  • Hyperspectral
  • Lighting technology
  • Urban science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


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