USGS EROS Archive - Land Cover Products - Global Land Cover Characterization (GLCC)

Science Center Objects

A global land cover database primarily derived from 1992 to 1993 1-km AVHRR data.

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 GLCC Land Cover Classification (North America)

 GLCC Land Cover Classification (North America)
(Public domain)

Global Land Cover Characterization (GLCC) is a series of global land cover classification datasets that are based primarily on the unsupervised classification of 1-km AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) 10-day NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index ) composites. The AVHRR source imagery dates from April 1992 through March 1993. Ancillary data sources included digital elevation data, ecoregions interpretation, and country- or regional-level vegetation and land cover maps.

The following classifications are included in the GLCC database:

  • Global Ecosystems
  • IGBP Land Cover Classification
  • U.S. Geological Survey Land Use/Land Cover System
  • Simple Biosphere Model
  • Simple Biosphere 2 Model
  • Biosphere Atmosphere Transfer Scheme
  • Vegetation Lifeform
GLCC Global Composite

 GLCC Land Cover Classification Global Composite
(Public domain.)

All of the GLCC classifications consist of raster images that contain class number values for each pixel that correspond to the appropriate classification scheme legend. Legends for each of the derived datasets are listed in the Appendix of the GLCC README.

All GLCC data is available in two forms:

  • GLCC (by continent) provides the GLCC classifications, as well as monthly NDVI composites, on a continent-by-continent basis (Africa, North America, South America, Eurasia, and Australia/Pacific). The continent GLCC data is available in the Interrupted Goode Homolosine or in the Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area projection. Nominal spatial resolution is 1 kilometer.
  • GLCC (global) data consists of the continent GLCC datasets which have been combined to produce a set of global GLCC composites. The global data is available in either the Interrupted Goode Homolosine or in geographic (latitude/longitude) coordinates. Nominal spatial resolution is 1 kilometer.

For every GLCC dataset, there are two versions available. Version 1 consists of GLCC data which has undergone complete accuracy assessment. Version 2 is updated GLCC which reflects additional data and sources, but accuracy assessment has not been completed.

All GLCC files are provided in flat headerless raster format. 

Additional Information

Global Land Cover Characterization (GLCC)

Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2000)

Access Data

EarthExplorer can be used to search, preview, and download GLCC data. The collections are located under the Land Cover Products data set.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Global Land Cover Characterization (GLCC) Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number: /10.5066/F7GB230D