The most detailed portraits ever of the Earth's land surface have been created with ESA's Envisat environmental satellite. The portraits are the first products produced as part of the ESA-initiated GlobCover project and are available online.
Bimonthly global composites for May to June 2005 and March to April 2006 can be accessed through a newly developed map server tool on ESAs GlobCover website. On 19 June, additional bimonthly global composites will be made available as well as the first part of a global land cover map over Eurasia. Around 40 terabytes of imagery an amount of data equivalent to the content of 40 million books were acquired between December 2004 and June 2006 and processed to generate the global composites. The composites will support the international community in modelling climate change extent and impacts, studying ecosystems and plotting worldwide land-use trends.
The United Nations Environment Programmes (UNEP) Ron Witt said: "The GlobCover data sets should allow UNEP to do frequent monitoring of environmentally-critical sites and known 'hot spots' in areas we have under examination around the globe, and to update our knowledge of such changing environmental conditions, in order to alert the global community to emerging problems before it is too late for decision-makers and civil society to take action in this regard."
Jean-Louis Weber highlighted the importance of the GlobCover products in the framework of the European Environmental Agency (EEA): "From the point of view of time scales, the contribution expected from GlobCover is of paramount importance. Combined with the Corine data on which the current accounts of land cover change at the European scale are based, a regularly updated GlobCover is expected to play a key role in the implementation of nowcasting procedures, necessary for delivering up-to-date data on land cover change at the European scale at a pace compatible with the main socio-economi
Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency