Three leading European geo-information service companies – GAF AG (Germany), GeoVille GmbH (Austria) and SIRS SAS (France) – have joined forces to serve Europe’s need for consistent mapping and updating of all five High Resolution Layers (HRL) 2015 on land cover characteristics for all of Europe. Complemented by e-GEOS S.p.A. for grassland mapping, the joint team has conducted a successful Kick-off Meeting together with EEA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Topic Centre on Urban Land and Soil Systems (ETC-ULS) in Copenhagen end of August 2016. Framework Service Contracts with a total volume of up to eight million Euro have been signed. The main production will run within a 12 to 18 months time period.
Based on high to very-high resolution satellite imagery, including ESA’s Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites, the team will perform an update and change mapping of the High Resolution Layers “Imperviousness” and “Forest”, as well as a new mapping of “Grassland”, “Water and Wetness”, and “Small Woody Features” for the EEA-39 countries (approx. 6 million km²). All thematic Layers provide dedicated information on current environmental conditions and change trends of the major land cover / land use types at 20 m spatial resolution. In complement to the well-established CORINE Land Cover (CLC), the HRLs will serve a broad user community, including European administration as well as Member State institutions, supporting applications for environmental policies and political decision-making. All final products will be made freely available by EEA via the CLMS portal (http://land.copernicus.eu).