VALIDATION OF THE GLOBAL HIGH-RESOLUTION GLOBELAND30 LAND COVER MAP IN EUROPE USING LAND COVER FIELD SURVEY DATABASE - LUCAS
Keywords: Global Land Cover, Thematic Accuracy Assessment, Free and Open Source, Error Matrix, Inexpensive validation, LUCAS
Abstract. High-resolution land cover maps are one of the technological innovations driving improvements in many fields influenced by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing. In particular, the GlobeLand30 (GL30), global LC map with spatial resolution of 30 m, is thought to be one of the highest quality high-resolution products. However, these LC maps require validation to determine their suitability for a particular purpose. One of the best ways to provide useful validation reference data is to do a high-level accuracy field survey, but this is time consuming and expensive. Another option is to exploit already available datasets. This study assesses thematic accuracy of GL30 in Europe using LUCAS as a validation reference, because it is a free and open field survey database. The results were generally not good, and very bad for some classes. Analysis was then restricted to a small region (Lombardy, Italy) where LC data of higher resolution than those of GL30 were available. LUCAS was also found to be incoherent with this product. Further comparisons of LUCAS with other independent sources confirmed that the LC attributes of LUCAS are inconsistent with expectations. Although these findings may not be generalized to other regions, the results warn against the suitability of LUCAS as ground truth for LC validation. The paper discusses the process of thematic accuracy assessment of the GL30 and the applicability of LUCAS for high-resolution global LC validation.