Global Land Cover

Global distribution of land cover in 2015

  • Source: ESA/ESA CCI/UCLouvain

The Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover (LC) project of the European Space Agency (ESA) delivers consistent global LC maps at 300 m spatial resolution on an annual basis from 1992 to 2015. Each pixel value corresponds to the label of a land cover class defined based on the UN Land Cover Classification System (LCCS). This unique data set was produced thanks to the reprocessing and the interpretation of 5 different satellite missions. Baseline LC maps are generated thanks to the entire MERIS FR and RR archive from 2003 through 2012. Independently from this baseline, LC changes are detected at 1 km based on the AVHRR time series between 1992 to 1999, SPOT-VGT time series between 1999 and 2013, and PROBA-V data for years 2013, 2014, and 2015. When MERIS FR or PROBA-V time series are available, changes detected at 1 km are remapped at 300 m. The last step consists in back- and updating the 10-year baseline LC map to produce the 24 annual LC maps from 1992 to 2015. Resource Watch shows only a subset of the data set. For access to the full data set and additional information, see the Learn More link.

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Formal name

Land Cover Maps - v2.0.7


A full accuracy assessment is available from the CCI. In general, land cover classes such as rainfed and irrigated croplands, broadleaved evergreen forest, urban areas, bare areas, water bodies and permanent snow are found quite accurately mapped. On the other hand, classes such as lichens and mosses, sparse vegetation and flooded forest with fresh water can be affected by errors. Data quality varies by region, particularly as related to the coverage of MERIS imagery for creation of the baseline map. Areas with less coverage include the western part of the Amazon basin, Chile and the southern part of Argentina, the western part of Congo basin as well as the gulf of Guinea, the eastern part of Russia, and the eastern coast of China and Indonesia.

Suggested citation

European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative, Land Cover project. 2017. "300 M Annual Global Land Cover Time Series from 1992 to 2015." Retrieved from Accessed through Resource Watch, (date).


European Space Agency (ESA)
European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative (ESA CCI)
University of Louvain (UCLouvain)

Geographic coverage


Spatial resolution

300 m

Date of content


Frequency of updates


Published language



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