Land-cover (LC) is defined as the observed physical cover on the Earth surface. Objects and surfaces are segmented into classes. Their number, type, and definition (nomenclature) vary with the application and the geographical scale. LC description is the core information layer for many interdisciplinary scientific and environmental studies. Accurate and up-to-date maps over large areas are mandatory baselines. A large number of public policies, in particular in the European Union, are driven by such knowledge: climate change mitigation, reduction of risks and threats, global sustainable development.

Remote sensing through automatic Earth-Observation image analysis has been widely recognized as the most feasible approach to derive LC information over large areas. It is now accepted that manual or semi-automatic generation of LC geodatabases through visual inspection of EO images is not a sustainable answer for current needs. Such issue is exacerbated with the increasing demand for semantic and geometric accuracy, and updateness.


About the workshop

The MAESTRIA project will organize workshops related to large scale land-cover mapping during the 2019-2022 period in order to collect users' expectations, validate choices and identify remaining challenges.

This first one-day meeting will be held on 3rd December 2019 in Paris and its main objective is to gather international land-cover experts from several organizations (ESA, JRC, universities and private companies) which have been working with and generating land-cover maps users for a long time. The specific goals of this first meeting will be to collect complementary points of view, share recent achievements and identify remaining challenges.

The program is available here.

The following questions will be specifically addressed:

  • Why investing today resources in land cover mapping ?
  • Which approaches for land cover map production are promoted ?
  • What place is given to land cover map validation ?
  • Who are the main categories of end users ?
  • What are the users' needs that are not yet fulfilled ?

The deadline for registration was 28 November 2019. Registration was free of charge.


Confirmed speakers

  • Pierre Defourny (UC Louvain, Belgium): Lessons learnt from global land cover mapping: achievements, issues and forthcoming challenges.
  • Christian Hoffmann (Geoville, Austria). Lessons learned from the last 21 years of commercial land monitoring services.
  • Christophe Sannier (SIRS, France). Operational Land cover / use mapping from local to continental scale.
  • Peter Strobl (JRC, European Commission). What is land cover? Thoughts about the abstraction of landscape in a Digital Earth.
  • Nandin-Erdene Tsendbazar (Wageningen University & Research, The Nederlands): Statistical validation of large-scale land-cover maps.
  • Ruben Van De Kerchove (VITO, Belgium). Global land cover mapping at 10/100m tailored to the user needs.


MAESTRIA project

The MAESTRIA project (Multi-modAl Earth obServaTion Image Analysis, 2019-2022) is funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR). It aims to solve several methodological challenges related to the fully automatic analysis of the massive amount of Earth Observation images. We target to generate land-cover/land-use descriptions at country scale at many spatial resolutions and sets of classes. Its ultimate goal is to provide a continuum of spatially and semantically consistent products, relevant for public policies at local or national levels and scientific models (climate modeling, urban planning, crop monitoring, etc.).

logo_maestria    The output of the MAESTRIA project will be two-fold:
  • Methods that leverage current challenges in Earth Observation image analysis;
  • Precise and up-to-date land-cover maps available over very large scales from 2m to 100m. Both will be made freely available.




  • Mathieu Fauvel (CESBIO)
  • Jordi Inglada (CESBIO)
  • Arnaud Le Bris (IGN)
  • Clément Mallet (IGN)
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