GlobCover is a European Space Agency (ESA) initiative which began in 2005 in partnership with the Joint Research Center, European Environmental Agency, UN Food and Agricultural Organization, UN Environment Programme, Global Observation of Forest Cover and Land Cover Dynamics, and International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. The aim of the project was to develop a service capable of delivering global composites and land cover maps using observations from the 300 meter MERIS sensor on board the ENVISAT satellite mission. ESA makes land cover maps available covering 2 periods: December 2004 - June 2006 and January - December 2009. GlobCover products come with a thematic legend compatible with the UN Land Cover Classification System (LCCS). Data in this layer was generated using MERIS images which were classified using both a supervised (human-verified) and unsupervised (automated)classification algorithm applied at two different seasonal time steps to create land cover classes based on both spectral and temporal properties of land cover. The labeling procedure is automated and based on the GlobCover 2005 (v2.2) land cover map. Several decision rules have been defined with the help of international land cover experts to create unique labels for each class.

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