Global Land Cover Characterization
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) have generated a 1-km resolution global land cover characteristics data base for use in a wide range of environmental research and modeling applications. The global land cover characteristics database was developed on a continent-by-continent basis. All continental databases share the same map projections (Interrupted Goode Homolosine and Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area), have 1-km nominal spatial resolution, and are based on 1-km Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data spanning April 1992 through March 1993. Each database contains unique elements based on the geographic aspects of the specific continent. In order to provide flexibility for a variety of applications, a core set of derived thematic maps produced through the aggregation of seasonal land cover regions are included in each continental database. The continental databases are combined to make seven global data sets, each representing a different landscape based on a particular classification legend. The global data sets are also available in two map projections (Interrupted Goode Homolosine and Geographic).
There are now two versions of the Global Land Cover Chacteristics database available. The first version (Version 1.2) of the Global Land Cover Characteristics database was released to the public in November, 1997. Version 1.2 was produced as an International Geosphere Biosphere Programme-Data and Information System (IGBP-DIS) initiative lead by the Land Cover Working Group and has been subjected to a formal accuracy assessment (the IGBP DISCover classification). Since this version was released, over 200 gigabytes of land cover data have been distributed from the EROS anonymous ftp site. Many of the users of the land cover data set have provided feedback (that is, suggestions for additions and improvements). We now offer a revised version of the database (Version 2.0). A formal accuracy assessment has not been conducted for the revised land cover data. Please read our global documentation for further information about the validation exercise and the differences between these versions of the Global Land Cover Characteristics database. The below information provides information on the classification schemes, categories, and a projection.
This effort is part of the National Aeronautic's and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observing System Pathfinder Program. Funding for the project was provided by the USGS, NASA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) , U.S. Forest Service (USFS) , and the United Nations Environment Programme . The data base has been adopted by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme Data and Information System office (IGBP-DIS) to fill its requirement for a global 1-km land cover data set.
All data used or generated during the course of the project (source,
interpretations, attributes, and derived data), unless protected by
copyrights or trade secret agreements, are distributed through the Earth Resources Observation & Science (EROS).
Land Cover Regions (Version 2.0)
The first release of the global land cover database occurred in November, 1997. The users of the global land cover characteristics database have provided considerable feedback as to needed refinements and added alternatives. Through this website, we now offer Version 2.0 of the Global Land Cover Database. This release provides updated land cover categories for approximately 10 percent of the land surface of the globe. More details about the revisions to land cover regions are found in the
and by consulting the ascii tables* that contain detailed information about the updated seasonal land cover regions for each of the continents in the database:
*Tables are in a tab delimited, ascii text format.
The following classification schemes are now available in a global geographic projection with 30 arc second grid cell size. Please consult the Global Readme for the image projection parameters.
Version 2 of the database includes two separate water classes, Inland Water and Ocean Water. The inland water class is found in several classification schemes (Seasonal Land Cover Regions, Biosphere Atmosphere Transfer Scheme, and Global Ecosystems). Water delination was performed using simple manual GIS methods to separate inland water at or near the coastline.
We have added Vegetation Lifeforms classification scheme to the GLCC database. Based on the work of Running and others (1994, 1995), this scheme includes the categories listed below. Vegetation is mapped into a simple scheme where categories are defined based on the presence or absence of trees and the leaf longeavity.
Global data are expressed in the following categories.
1 Evergreen Needleleaf Vegetation
2 Evergreen Broadleaf Vegetation
3 Deciduous Needleleaf Vegetation
4 Dedicuous Broadleaf Vegetation
5 Annual Broadleaf Vegetation
6 Annual Grass Vegetation
7 Non-Vegetated Land
8 Water Bodies
Over 120 publications are listed in the Global Publications Summary . Updated periodically, this list includes publication references by both members of the GLCC project team and authors who have used land cover for research and applications. Please send your publication references to firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to GLCC Home Page