Access to Global Land Cover Reference Datasets and Their Suitability for Different User Communities

Monday, 15 December 2014
Brice Mora1, Nandin-Erdene Tsendbazar2, Sytze de Bruin2 and Martin Herold2, (1)Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States, (2)Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
Global land cover (GLC) maps and their validation can provide important information to different user communities. As an Essential Climate Variables, land cover observations can be used by climate modelling, forest resource and biodiversity assessments and so on. These applications have varying requirements for GLC maps. To date, several global land cover reference (GLCR) datasets have been produced and used for production and validation of specific maps. Despite significant efforts put into generating them, their availability and role in applications outside their intended use have been very limited. We analysed the suitability of GLCR datasets for a range of GLC validation applications. The potential use of GLCR datasets were assessed for main user communities such as the Climate modelling, Global forest change analysts, the GEO community of practice for agricultural monitoring and GLC map producers. We assessed 12 GLCR datasets using sets of criteria reflecting the main user requirements on the sampling, thematic and spatio-temporal detail, and quality. The analysis revealed the dataset suitability is highly dependent on specific applications by the user communities. The LC-CCI, GOFC-GOLD, FAO-FRA and Geo-Wiki datasets had the broadest applicability for multiple uses. Furthermore, we present the reference data portal from the GOFC-GOLD Land-Cover Project Office. This portal, currently under development, not only aims to make available GLCR datasets freely accessible but it will also guide the user to the most suitable dataset based on their specific needs. This portal intends to advocate also the use of best practices for the validation of land cover maps, following the recommendations from the CEOS. We present some GLCR datasets that are available on the portal (e.g. GLC2000, STEP, VIIRS). This portal will enhance the re-usability of the GLCR datasets greatly by making them available in an expert framework with a guide on proper usage for specific applications.