France: Meeting the environmental needs of an ever-expanding Europe requires consistent and regularly updated information on its land cover and use. As part of ESA’s GlobCorine project, a pan-European Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) map for 2009 is now available online.
The map, based on ESA’s Envisat MERIS data from January 1 – December 31, 2009, is the first of its kind to be produced in such a short time – nine months as opposed to years.
GlobCorine shows how an automated service can generate and regularly update such maps, which are essential for environmental agencies.
The 300 m resolution map was delivered to the European Environmental Agency (EEA), the project’s main user, in October. “The novelty of this map is that we can finally have relevant, timely global land cover information compatible with the time series of European Corine land cover data for decision-making,” EEA’s Chris Steenmans, Head of Programme, Shared Environmental Information System, said.
“If you want to bring the environment into the context of economic and social development, then the speed of environmental information delivery needs to keep pace with economists and decision-makers for sustainable development. This means we can’t continue what we have done in the past, which was to report on land use changes using three or sometimes five-year-old data. Instead, we have to provide up-to-date figures that will help us to monitor sustainability of our ecosystem services.”
Jean-Louis Weber, Special Adviser on Economic Environmental Accounting at EEA, said the idea of GlobCorine is based on two needs: “EEA has been asked by the European Commission to organise an information and reporting system on the state of the environment for the whole pan-European and Mediterranean region, and land cover is basic information needed to understand more complex processes.”