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Towards monitoring land-cover and land-use changes at a global scale: the global land survey 2005

January 1, 2008

Land cover is a critical component of the Earth system, infl uencing land-atmosphere interactions, greenhouse gas fl uxes, ecosystem health, and availability of food, fi ber, and energy for human populations. The recent Integrated Global Observations of Land (IGOL) report calls for the generation of maps documenting global land cover at resolutions between 10m and 30m at least every fi ve years (Townshend et al., in press). Moreover, despite 35 years of Landsat observations, there has not been a unifi ed global analysis of land-cover trends nor has there been a global assessment of land-cover change at Landsat-like resolution. Since the 1990s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have supported development of data sets based on global Landsat observations (Tucker et al., 2004). These land survey data sets, usually referred to as GeoCover ™, provide global, orthorectifi ed, typically cloud-free Landsat imagery centered on the years 1975, 1990, and 2000, with a preference for leaf-on conditions. Collectively, these data sets provided a consistent set of observations to assess land-cover changes at a decadal scale. These data are freely available via the Internet from the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) (see or This has resulted in unprecedented downloads of data, which are widely used in scientifi c studies of land-cover change (e.g., Boone et al., 2007; Harris et al., 2005; Hilbert, 2006; Huang et al. 2007; Jantz et al., 2005, Kim et al., 2007; Leimgruber, 2005; Masek et al., 2006). NASA and USGS are continuing to support land-cover change research through the development of GLS2005 - an additional global Landsat assessment circa 20051 . Going beyond the earlier initiatives, this data set will establish a baseline for monitoring changes on a 5-year interval and will pave the way toward continuous global land-cover monitoring at Landsat-like resolution in the next decade.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2008
Title Towards monitoring land-cover and land-use changes at a global scale: the global land survey 2005
Authors G. Gutman, Raymond A. Byrnes, J. Masek, S. Covington, C. Justice, S. Franks, Rachel Headley
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
Index ID 70156428
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center