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Copernicus Global Land Cover Layers—Collection 2

Remote Sensing Unit, Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), B-2400 Mol, Belgium
Ecosystems Services and Management, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing, Wageningen University & Research, NL-6708 Wageningen, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(6), 1044;
Received: 19 February 2020 / Revised: 17 March 2020 / Accepted: 22 March 2020 / Published: 24 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Operational Land Cover/Land Use Mapping)
In May 2019, Collection 2 of the Copernicus Global Land Cover layers was released. Next to a global discrete land cover map at 100 m resolution, a set of cover fraction layers is provided depicting the percentual cover of the main land cover types in a pixel. This additional continuous classification scheme represents areas of heterogeneous land cover better than the standard discrete classification scheme. Overall, 20 layers are provided which allow customization of land cover maps to specific user needs or applications (e.g., forest monitoring, crop monitoring, biodiversity and conservation, climate modeling, etc.). However, Collection 2 was not just a global up-scaling, but also includes major improvements in the map quality, reaching around 80% or more overall accuracy. The processing system went into operational status allowing annual updates on a global scale with an additional implemented training and validation data collection system. In this paper, we provide an overview of the major changes in the production of the land cover maps, that have led to this increased accuracy, including aligning with the Sentinel 2 satellite system in the grid and coordinate system, improving the metric extraction, adding better auxiliary data, improving the biome delineations, as well as enhancing the expert rules. An independent validation exercise confirmed the improved classification results. In addition to the methodological improvements, this paper also provides an overview of where the different resources can be found, including access channels to the product layer as well as the detailed peer-review product documentation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Copernicus; land use/cover classification; cover fractions; remote sensing; global land cover mapping; random forest; time series analysis Copernicus; land use/cover classification; cover fractions; remote sensing; global land cover mapping; random forest; time series analysis
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  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3243509
    Description: Copernicus Global Land Service: Land Cover 100m: epoch 2015: Globe (Version V2.0.2) [Data set].
MDPI and ACS Style

Buchhorn, M.; Lesiv, M.; Tsendbazar, N.-E.; Herold, M.; Bertels, L.; Smets, B. Copernicus Global Land Cover Layers—Collection 2. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1044.

AMA Style

Buchhorn M, Lesiv M, Tsendbazar N-E, Herold M, Bertels L, Smets B. Copernicus Global Land Cover Layers—Collection 2. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(6):1044.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Buchhorn, Marcel, Myroslava Lesiv, Nandin-Erdene Tsendbazar, Martin Herold, Luc Bertels, and Bruno Smets. 2020. "Copernicus Global Land Cover Layers—Collection 2" Remote Sensing 12, no. 6: 1044.

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