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The standardization and harmonization of land cover classification systems towards harmonized datasets: A Review

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 12:23 authored by Hui Yang, Songnian Li, Jun Chen, Xiaolu Zhang, Shishuo Xu
A number of national, regional and global land cover classification systems have been developed to meet specific user requirements for land cover mapping exercises, independent of scale, nomenclature and quality. However, this variety of land-cover classification systems limits the compatibility and comparability of land cover data. Furthermore, the current lack of interoperability between different land cover datasets, often stemming from incompatible land cover classification systems, makes analysis of multi-source, heterogeneous land cover data for various applications a very difficult task. This paper provides a critical review of the harmonization of land cover classification systems, which facilitates the generation, use and analysis of land cover maps consistently. Harmonization of existing land cover classification systems is essential to improve their cross-comparison and validation for understanding landscape patterns and changes. The paper reviews major land cover classification standards according to different scales, summarizes studies on harmonizing land cover mapping, and discusses some research problems that need to be solved and some future research directions. Keywords: land cover; classification system; standard; harmonization