A procedure to obtain a refined European land use/cover map

F. Batista e Silva, C. Lavalle, E. Koomen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Available land use/cover maps differ in their spatial extent and in their thematic, spatial, and temporal resolutions. Due to the costs of producing such maps, there is usually a trade-off between spatial extent and resolution. The only European-wide, consistent, and multi-temporal land use/cover dataset available is the CORINE Land Cover (CLC) map. Despite the value and usefulness of CLC, its minimum mapping unit (MMU) of 25 hectares considerably limits its applications at large scales of analysis. Our objective was to improve the spatial detail of CLC 2006 by incorporating land use/cover information present in finer thematic maps available for Europe such as the CLC change map, Soil Sealing Layer, Tele Atlas® Spatial Database, Urban Atlas, and Water Bodies Data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. Relevant data from these datasets were extracted and prepared to be combined with CLC in a stepwise approach. Each step increased the level of modifications to the original CLC. This process generated a newly refined version of the CLC 2006 map with an improved MMU of 1 hectare for all types of artificial surfaces and inland waters while keeping constant the original 100 meter cell size. A validation of the new map was carried out using Land Use/Cover Area frame Statistical survey (LUCAS) 2006 sample points. The observed increase in spatial detail was done, however, at the cost of cartographic consistency. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-283
JournalJournal of Land Use Science
Issue number3
Early online date29 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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