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Empowering the new generation of European Land Cover and Land Use information: CLC+ Core to give a further boost to the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service

The next step towards implementing the new ground-breaking standard in Copernicus Land Monitoring has been initiated with the kick-off of the CLC+ Core initiative in December 2020. The Austrian–German consortium has been awarded a 3.1 million euro framework service contract by the European Environment Agency to implement and run the CLC+ Core system over the next four years. Various Copernicus Land Monitoring Service products as well as national land cover and land use datasets will be ingested into a core system, setting the path for the future creation of multiple CLC+ Instances. CLC+ Core will thus be able to provide unprecedented information to strengthen Europe’s leading role in climate change impact mitigation and the management of environmental monitoring in support of programmes and policies such as Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry and the European Green Deal.

“CLC+ addresses the requirements identified for the coming decades. The European Commission’s and the users’ expectations are very high”, said Hans Dufourmont from the European Environment Agency (EEA) upon opening the CLC+ Core kick-off meeting in December 2020. The CLC+ Core consortium led by Cloudflight (Austria) in collaboration with GeoVille (Austria) and GAF (Germany) and supported by SpaceTec Partners (Belgium) is ready for this challenge. The two-day kick-off meeting was also attended by experts from the Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET) Action Group on Land monitoring in Europe (EAGLE), EIONET National Reference Centres on Land Cover (NRC LC) and the European Topic Centre on Urban, Land and Soil Systems (ETC ULS), who will support the project implementation to ensure it meets all user expectations and needs.

Expanding onto the CLC+ Backbone that was launched in 2019, CLC+ Core constitutes the second stage of the CORINE Land Cover (CLC) second generation, known as CLC+. The CLC+ Core component will deliver a consistent multi-use grid-based Land Cover/Land Use (LC/LU) hybrid data repository, aiding CLC+ to become the new European standard in land monitoring within the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS) family. By implementing a flexible data handling approach, CLC+ Core will incorporate existing and future European CLMS products and various national LC/LU products using a standardised integration approach in line with the EAGLE data model. As Tobias Langanke from EEA highlighted, “this new era of land cover mapping is driven by increased policy requirements, improved technical capabilities and advanced semantic description systems. Moving from ‘classification’ towards ‘description’ involves a shift from traditional mapping approaches towards, e.g., the EAGLE ontology.”

By combining various complementary information sources, CLC+ Core will enable the extraction of newly-composed tailored information layers, so-called CLC+ Instances. These will provide key inputs to European and international environmental policy reporting obligations underpinning Europe’s leading role in environmental protection and supporting climate change mitigation efforts. CLC+ Instances will initially address Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) activities, and a CLC Legacy Instance to ensure compatibility with over three decades of the ‘traditional’ CORINE Land Cover heritage.

The CLC+ Core developments are in close coordination and with seamless compatibility with the first CLC+ component, CLC+ Backbone, thereby jointly addressing the common goal of shaping a new era in European land monitoring for the coming decade.

CLC+ Core database: Integrating various CLMS, ancillary and national LC/LU data into CLC+ Core to enable further derivation of CLC+ Instances, such as for LULUCF. Source: consortium (Cloudflight/GeoVille/GAF).

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