LUCAS Copernicus 2018: Earth Observation relevant in-situ data on land cover throughout the European Union
Abstract. The Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS) is a regular in-situ land cover and land use ground survey exercise that extends over the whole of the European Union. LUCAS was carried out in 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018. A new LUCAS module specifically tailored to Earth Observation was introduced in 2018: the LUCAS Copernicus module, aiming at surveying land cover extent up to 51 meters in four cardinal directions around a point of observation. This paper first summarizes the LUCAS
... opernicus protocol to collect homogeneous land cover on a surface area of up to a 0.52 ha. Secondly, it proposes a methodology to create a ready-to-use dataset for Earth Observation land cover and land use applications with high resolution satellite imagery. As a result, a total of 63,364 LUCAS points distributed over 26 level-2 land cover classes were surveyed on the ground. Using homogeneous extent information in the four cardinal direction, a polygon was delineated for each of such point. Through geo-spatial analysis and by semantically linking the LUCAS core and Copernicus land cover observations, 58,428 polygons are provided with a level-3 land cover (66 specific classes including crop type) and land use (38 classes) information as inherited from the LUCAS core observation. The open-access dataset supplied with this manuscript (https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.12382667.v3) provides a unique opportunity to train and validate decametric sensor-based products such as those obtained from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 and -2 satellites. A follow-up of the LUCAS Copernicus module is already planned for 2022. In 2022, a simplified version of the LUCAS Copernicus module will be carried out on 150,000 LUCAS points for which in-situ surveying is planned. This guarantees a continuity in the effort to find synergies between statistical in-situ surveying and the need to collect in-situ data relevant for Earth Observation in the European Union.