Esri Enhances Land-Cover Map
March 14, 2022
and businesses across the world are pledging to adopt more sustainable
and equitable practices. Many are also working to limit activities that
contribute to climate change. To support these efforts, Esri, the global
leader in location intelligence, in partnership with Impact Observatory
and Microsoft, is releasing a globally consistent 2017–2021 global
land-use and land-cover map of the world based on the most up-to-date
10-meter Sentinel-2 satellite data. In addition to the new 2021 data,
10-meter land-use and land-cover data for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 is
included, illustrating five years of change across the planet.
This digital rendering of earth’s surfaces offers detailed information
and insights about how land is being used. The map is available online
to more than 10 million users of geographic information system (GIS)
software through Esri’s ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, the foremost
collection of geographic information and services, including maps and
“Accurate, timely, and accessible maps are critical for understanding
the rapidly changing world, especially as the effects of climate change
accelerate globally,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president.
“Planners worldwide can use this map to better understand complex
challenges and take a geographic approach to decisions about food
security, sustainable land use, surface water, and resource management.”
Esri released a 2020 global land-cover map last year as well as a
high-resolution 2050 global land-cover map, showing how earth’s land
surfaces might look 30 years from now. With the planned annual releases,
users will have the option to make year-to-year comparisons for
detecting change in vegetation and crops, forest extents, bare surfaces,
and urban areas.
These maps also provide insights about locations with distinctive land
use/land cover, as well as human activity affecting them. National
government resource agencies use land-use/land-cover data as a basis for
understanding trends in natural capital, which helps define
land-planning priorities and determine budget allocations.
Esri’s map layers were developed with imagery from the European Space
Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 satellites, with machine learning workflows by
Esri Silver partner Impact Observatory and incredible compute resources
from longtime partner Microsoft. The Sentinel-2 satellites carry a
multispectral imaging instrument, enabling it to monitor vegetation,
soil and water cover, inland waterways, and coastal areas.
leaders need to set and achieve ambitious targets for sustainable
development and environmental restoration,” said Steve Brumby, Impact
Observatory cofounder and CEO. “Impact Observatory [and] our partners
Esri and Microsoft are once again first to deliver an annual set of
global maps at unprecedented scale and speed. These maps of changing
land use and land cover provide leaders in governments, industry, and
finance with a new AI [artificial intelligence]-powered capability for
timely, actionable geospatial insights on demand.”
Esri and Microsoft have released this 10-meter-resolution time-series
map under a Creative Commons license to encourage broad adoption and
ensure equitable access for planners working to create a more
sustainable planet. Users can manipulate the map layers and other data
layers with GIS software to create more dynamic visualizations.
In addition to being freely available in ArcGIS Online as a map service,
these resources are also available for download and viewing.