Broad scale mapping from Earth Observation

Broad scale mapping offers the possibility of wide geographic coverage and therefore rapid mapping of large areas, although it does not enable very high spatial or thematic resolution.  Mapping at this scale could offer great benefits though, if it could provide regular and cost effective assessments of change in the countryside.  The feasibility of this approach is being assessed by JNCC in partnership with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in the Ecological Land Cover Time Series System.

This project is looking at how feasible it would be to create a system that can utilise high quality optical satellite images as they become available to produce land cover information with as much ecological detail as possible.  To provide optimum benefit the system would need to be able to analyse new images, update land cover classifications to build a time series of such data, provide ecological variables and assess change in the landscape.  This represents a considerable challenge and this project is the first step to test how much of that is achievable.


Change detection

The ability to assess change in the landscape is a critical aspect of this work and as such three main methods of change detection are currently being tested within the project:

  • Post-classification – post-classification is the change between 2 classifications and will provide baseline accuracy against which to assess the success of the other two methods.
  • Image to Image (also known as image differencing);
  • Classification to Image.

More information about this aspect of the work is available in the change detection report below.


Broad scale mapping resources

Change detection report