Special Interest Group | Land Use & Land Cover


Land use and land cover have been one of the first and main products from remote sensing data. Its dynamics are strongly influenced by socio-economic factors and political decisions, generating a need for adequate mapping and monitoring tools. As a consequence, robust and sophisticated analysis methods are required for accurate information extraction and fast and efficient data analysis adopted to the rapid advances in image and sensor technologies. Furthermore, multi-temporal and multi-sensor approaches are becoming more and more important not only for change detection but also for more detailed classification approaches. The EARSeL Special Interest Group on Land Use and Land Cover (SIG LULC) aims to bundle methodological and application-oriented research activities in this thematic field. The workshops shall form a platform for scientific exchange and discussion on a variety of related topics.

The SIG intention is to further foster a better integration of science results into operational products and processes. Hence, the SIG welcomes contributions from users, service providers and value adding industry. We also aim at linking with the various European initiatives in the land cover sector as well as on-going core services within the EU Copernicus and ESA ECV programs.



Upcoming event:

EARSeL Joint Workshop 2021 - New date:
Earth Observation for sustainable cities and communities

Liege, Belgium, March 30 – April 1,  2021

*  If the sanitary and/or travel conditions are not satisfactory at the end of next winter the joint workshop might become a 100% virtual event!
More information


EARSeL Book Series, Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing, Volume 18

Thanks to an initiative in 2011 during the 4th SIG Workshop in Prague the members and chairmen of the SIG managed to launch in March 2014 the Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in Europe – Practices & Trends Book within the EARSeL Book Series, Springer Verlag. Topics covered include:

A. Framework conditions

  • Remote Sensing in support of the geo-information in Europe.
  • Global land cover mapping: Current status and future trends.
  • The users’ role in the current European land monitoring context.
  • Towards an European land cover monitoring service and high-resolution layers.

B. Operational European Mapping and monitoring services:

  • CORINE Land Cover and land cover change products.
  • European Area Frame Sampling based on Very High Resolution image.
  • European forest monitoring approaches.
  • The European Urban Atlas.

C. State of the art mapping methods

  • A review of modern approaches to classification of remote sensing data.
  • Recent advances in remote sensing change detection – a review.
  • Synergies from SAR-optical data fusion for LULC mapping.
  • Application of object-oriented method for classification of VHR satellite images using rule-based approach and texture measures.

D. National practice examples

  • Remote sensing of vegetation for nature conservation.- Modeling urban sprawl.- Land Information System Austria (LISA).
  • Digital Land Cover Model for Germany DLM DE.
  • Land Use & land cover mapping in Europe: Examples from the UK.
  • Operational land cover and land use mapping in the Netherlands.
  • The use of the Land-Cover Classification System in Eastern European countries: experiences, lessons learnt and the way forward.

E. Multi-temporal monitoring in support of decision making and implementation at regional, national and local scale

  • Differentiation of Crop Types and Grassland by Multi-Scale Analysis of Seasonal Satellite Data.
  • Enhancing remotely sensed low resolution vegetation data for assessing Mediterranean areas prone to land degradation.
  • Beyond NDVI: Extraction of biophysical variables from remote sensing imagery.
  • Land transformation processes in NE China: Tracking trade-offs in ecosystem services across several decades with Landsat-TM/ETM+ time series.
  • Carbon stock estimation of tropical forests on Borneo, Indonesia, for REDD+.

Thanks to all contributors (authors, reviewers, co-editors, Book Series editors) and their Institutes, EARSeL, and Springer Verlag.

Back cover text reference: Land use and land cover (LULC) as well as its changes (LUCC) are an interplay between bio-geophysical characteristics of the landscape and climate as well as the complex human interaction including its different patterns of utilization superimposed on the natural vegetation. LULC is a core information layer for a variety of scientific and administrative tasks(e.g. hydrological modelling, climate models, land use planning).In particular in the context of climate change with its impacts on socio-economic, socio-ecologic systems as well as ecosystem services precise information on LULC and LUCC are mandatory baseline datasets required over large areas. Remote sensing can provide such information on different levels of detail and in a homogeneous and reliable way. Hence, LULC mapping can be regarded as a prototype for integrated approaches based on spaceborne and airborne remote sensing techniques combined with field observations. The book provides for the first time a comprehensive view of various LULC activities focusing on European initiatives, such as the LUCAS surveys, the CORINE land covers, the ESA/EU GMES program and its resulting Fast-Track- and Downstream Services, the EU JRC Global Land Cover, the ESA GlobCover project as well as the ESA initiative on Essential Climate Variables. All have and are producing highly appreciated land cover products. The book will cover the operational approaches, but also review current state-of-the-art scientific methodologies and recommendations for this field. It opens the view with best-practice examples that lead to a view that exceeds pure mapping, but to investigate into drivers and causes as well as future projections.

Readership and visibility of the eBook chapters:



The Special Interest Group (SIG) organizes regular workshops on a bi-annual basis. The workshops are organized with invited oral presentations and posters, with plenty of time for discussions and exchange. Additional sessions on the SIG topics are proposed within the annual EARSeL symposium.

Previous Workshops & Conference Sessions

Recent stand-alone workshops were held in:



Ioannis Manakos, Dr.
Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH)
Information Technologies Institute
Building A, 6km Harilaou-Thermi
PO Box 60361
Thessaloniki, 57001, Greece phone: +30 2311 257 760
e-mail: imanakos (at) iti.gr

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