Open Access to Consolidated Reference Data Sets for Global Land Cover Map Products in the Context of GEO and ECVs
Mora, Brice1; Herold, Martin2; Defourny, Pierre3; Arino, Olivier4; Bontemps, Sophie3; Sulla-Menashe, Damien5; Nandinerdene, Tsendbazar2
1GOFC-GOLD Land Cover Office, NETHERLANDS; 2Wageningen University, NETHERLANDS; 3Université Catholique de Louvain, BELGIUM; 4ESA, ITALY; 5Boston University, UNITED STATES

Several global and regional map products have been derived in response to the need for worldwide and up-to-date information regarding land cover and related temporal dynamics. Although efforts in harmonization and validation are mentioned in nearly all related mapping projects as well as in many other circumstances, there is only limited compatibility and comparability between these different maps. Developing a sustained global land cover reference data network and applying standardized validation protocols follows specific requirements advocated in the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) implementation plan (monitoring ECVs) and relevant Group on Earth Observations (GEO) land cover tasks. As part of European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative (ESA-CCI) the Global Observation of Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) land cover office, and the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium, are developing datasets within a land cover harmonization and validation framework to address land cover validation needs.
In this communication we present our rationale, plans, and current status of this project. The technical design and prototype activities will be presented. Specific emphasis will be put on 1) the consolidation work being done on the reference data used in the land cover CCI, and 2) the design and development of a web portal that is aiming to provide an open access to consolidated reference datasets for the Land Cover ECV products, and other GLC map products. This web portal is intended to be a hub for the GLC mapping community to access free reference datasets with detailed and accurate information on data specifications, conditions of use, and appropriate recommendations for a proper use.