Tchuente, ATK; Roujean, JL; De Jong, SM (2011). Comparison and relative quality assessment of the GLC2000, GLOBCOVER, MODIS and ECOCLIMAP land cover data sets at the African continental scale. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION, 13(2), 207-219.
Land cover dynamics at the African continental scale is of great importance for global change studies. Actually, four satellite-derived land cover maps of Africa now available, e.g. ECOCLIMAP, GLC2000, MODIS and GLOBCOVER, are based on images acquired in the 2000s. This study aims at stressing the compliances and the discrepancies between these four land cover classifications systems. Each of them used different mapping initiatives and relies on different mapping standards, which supports the present investigation. In order to do a relative comparison of the four maps, a preamble was to reconcile their thematic legends into more aggregated categories after a projection into the same spatial resolution. Results show that the agreement between the four land cover products is between 56 and 69%. While all these land cover datasets show a reasonable agreement in terms of surface types and spatial distribution patterns, mapping of heterogeneous landscapes in the four products is not very successful. Land cover products based on remote sensing imagery can indeed significantly be improved by using smarter algorithms, better timing of image acquisition, improved class definitions. Either will help to improve the accuracy of future land cover maps at the African continental scale. Data producers may use the areas of spatial agreement for training area selection while users might need to verify the information in the areas of disagreement using additional data sources. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.