Esri has released for the first time ever a new high-resolution, 2020 global land cover map as part of the company’s Living Atlas. The new map will be updated annually supporting change detection and highlighting planetary land changes, especially related to the effects of human activity. A consistent map of land cover for the entire world based on the most current satellite information, the 2020 Global Land Cover Map can be combined with other data layers for green infrastructure, sustainability projects, and other conservation efforts that require a holistic picture of both the human and natural footprint on the planet.
The map was built using European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 satellite imagery and developed using a new machine learning workflow teaming with new Esri Silver Partner Impact Observatory, as well as long-time partner Microsoft.
Later this year, Esri and Impact Observatory will make the new land cover model available to support on-demand land cover classification, allowing the GIS community to create maps for project areas as often as every week.
Users will also be able to manipulate the map in association with other GIS layers such as terrain, hydrology, and more, all available in ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, the foremost collection of geographic information from around the globe, including maps, apps, and data layers. Through the visualizations being released, planners worldwide will better understand the geography around them to make more informed decisions—enabling them to gain insight into locations with distinctive land cover, as well as human activity affecting them.
High-resolution, open, accurate, comparable, and timely land cover maps are critical for decision-makers in many industry sectors and developing nations. These maps improve understanding of important topics such as food security, land use planning, hydrology modeling, and resource management planning. In addition, national government resource agencies use land cover as a basis for understanding trends in natural capital, which helps define land planning priorities and is the basis of budget allocations.