Latest update of the national land cover launched

November 12th, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

The Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) Spatial Information Management directorate has launched the 2018 National Land Cover (NLC) for South Africa at an event for stakeholders in Pretoria on 1 October 2019.

The national land cover is one of the country’s base datasets outlined in the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Act of 2003, and plays an important role in the country’s resource management. The NLC is accompanied by NCL Change dataset, which highlight changes from previous NLCs – these being the 1990 and 203/2014 NLCs. The NCL and NCL Change products are publicly available for free under an open user licence on DEA’s EGIS website.

GeoTerraImage’s Mark Thompson shows the latest land cover updates.

Produced using multispectral imagery from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellite, the dataset has a 20 m resolution and is based on new Land Cover Meta Language (LCML) classification system, which is an ISO 19144-2 standard. The 73 land cover classes and definitions are of much higher resolution than previous classification systems which have fewer classes. It is also backwards compatible with the older Land Cover Classification Schemes 1 and 2. Unlike previous classification schemes which have been locally standardised through SABS, the latest classification (LCML) was standardised through the SDI of 2003.

GeoTerraImage created both products, and is working with the CSIR to automate the production of the land cover and land cover change datasets in coming years. The Automated Land-Cover Generation tool will enable the Department of Environmental Affairs to produce land cover products using cloud-based technologies.

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