A new global portrait taken from space details Earth’s land cover with a resolution never before obtained. ESA, in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, presented the preliminary version of the map to scientists last week at the 2nd GlobCover User Consultation workshop held in Rome, Italy.
"The GlobCover product will be the first freely available product at 300m resolution and is therefore a milestone product which will be fundamental to a broad level stakeholder community."
Jaap van Woerden from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said: "This map can greatly support the work of UNEP and partners in addressing environmental priority issues such as climate change and ecosystem management."
Prof. Christiane Schmullius from the University of Jena in Germany said the new GlobCover product “revolutionises global land cover mapping."
The map is based on 20 Terabytes of imagery – equivalent to the content of 20 million books – acquired from May 2005 to April 2006 by Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument.
All images then undergo a standardised processing technique developed and operated by Medias-France/Postel, together with Brockmann Consult, the Université catholique de Louvain and partners.
There are 22 different land cover types shown in the map, including croplands, wetlands, forests, artificial surfaces, water bodies and permanent snow and ice. For maximum user benefit, the map’s thematic legend is compatible with the UN Land Cover Classification System (LCCS).