||A Tresholding technique was used to convert a prototype “city lights” data set from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Geophysical Data Center (NOAAINGDC) into a map of “urban areas” for the continental United States. Thresholding was required to adapt the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Operational Linescan System (DMSPIOLS)-based NGDC data set into an urban map because the values reported in the prototype represent a cumulative percentage lighted for each pixel extracted from hundreds of nighttime cloud screened orbits, rather than any suitable land-cover classification. The cumulative percentage lighted data could not be used alone because the very high gain of the OLS nighttime photomultiplier configuration can. lead to a pixel (2.7X2.7 km) appearing “lighted” even with very low intensity, nonurban light sources. We found that a threshold of %89% yielded the best results, removing ephemeral light sources and “blooming” of light onto water when adjacent to cities while still leaving the dense urban core intact. This approach gave very good results when compared with the urban areas as defined by the 1990 U. S. Census; the “urban” area from our analysis being only 5% less than that of the Census. The Census was also used to derive population.- and housing-density statistics for the continent-wide “city lights” analysis; these averaged 1033 persons/km2 and 426 housing units/ king, respectively. The use of a nighttime sensor to determine the location and estimate the density of population based on light sources has proved feasible in this exploratory effort. However, issues concerning the use of census data as a benchmark for evaluating the accuracy of remotely sensed imagery are discussed, and potential improvements in the sensor regarding spatial resolution, instrument gain, and pointing accuracy are addressed.