GUEST POST: Land and Forest Cover Mapping and Monitoring – Global Scale Products

This image is taken from a recent paper by Kim et al. (2014), accessible here:

This image is taken from a recent paper by Kim et al. (2014), accessible here:

The availability and accessibility of global land and forest cover data sets plays an important role in many global, regional and national change studies. Recent developments in earth observing satellite technology, information technology, computer hardware and software, and infrastructure development have helped in the development of better quality land cover data sets. As a result, such data sets are increasingly becoming available, the user-base is ever widening, application areas have been expanding, and the potential of many other applications are enormous.

Data Source Year Resolution Available@
Very Coarse Resolution Products Mathews Global Vegetation/Land Use 1983 1° x 1°
Olson Land Cover and Vegetation 1983 0.5° x 0.5°
Willson and Henderson–Sellers Global Land Cover 1985 1° x 1°
Coarse Resolution Products DeFries/Townshend-Global Land Cover 1995 10 km x 10 km
GLCC (IGBP DISCover) 1997 1 km x 1 km
UMD Land Cover 2000 1 km x 1 km
MODIS Land Cover 2003 1 km x 1 km
Vegetation Continuous Fields 2003 1 km x 1 km
GLC-2000 2003 1 km x 1 km
MODIS vegetation continuous fields (VCF) 2011 250 m x 250 m
GLOBCOVER 2009 300 m x 300 m
MODIS Land Cover 2008 500 m x 500 m
Medium Resolution Products JAXA global PALSAR mosaic and forest/non-forest map (2007-2010) 2013 25 m x 25 m JAXA EORC
GeoCover LCTM 2003 30 m x 30 m
China Global Land Cover 2012 30 m x 30 m
Global Forest Watch 2013 30 m x 30 m
GEO US Global Land Cover 2013 30 m x 30 m

How much is the South Asian region benefiting?

I think we can benefit at the regional and/or at the national level. In the South Asian region, as we are well aware, lack of data and information has been one of the major limitations on policy and decision makers in addressing regional environmental issues. These issues include the development of greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, the evolution of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) mechanisms, and the assessment of land degradation, as well as optimal land use planning.

How accurate are these products?

At different platforms debates and collaborations are going on to make global products more accurate and acceptable. Global scale study can’t come up to the demands of the national level scale. But based on our interest (land and/or forest cover change), we can get hold of the above-mentioned products, and after a certain levels of personal validation, these can be used and further analysed, instead of starting from scratch.

Conflicts of Interest: The findings reported stand as scientific study and observations of the author and do not necessarily reflect as the views of author’s organizations.
About this post: This is a guest post by Hammad Gilani. Learn more about this blog’s authors here