Earth Observation wider context - other useful sites and ongoing work

Below is a selection of recent studies undertaken by statutory bodies that incorporate EO and land cover or habitat mapping from the UK. Current collaborative research in Europe is included which may also be of interest to the UK.


UK projects


Habitat Inventory for Wales

(Natural Resources Wales)

This is a habitat map for Wales, rich in information and ideally suited for use in policy, land management and monitoring for nature conservation, biodiversity, land use/land cover and ecosystem services. The structure of the mapping system means it can be easily updated as new satellite or aerial imagery become available.


Land Cover Map 2007 (LCM2007)

(Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)

This data set provides land cover information for the entire UK based on the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Broad Habitats which are widely used in monitoring and reporting. LCM2007 has been derived from satellite images, digital cartography, ground reference data and ancillary datasets. LCM2007 parcels are formed from generalised digital cartography, refined with image segments from EO data analysis together with the use of ancillary data e.g. soil type, terrain and coastal proximity.


Environmental monitoring

(Natural England and the Environment Agency)

“Operational Use of Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring” is a report which outlines the collaborative work between the Environment Agency and Natural England to apply EO type data to habitats assessments, monitoring and evaluation.


Dartmoor pilot

(Natural England and the Environment Agency)

The mapping tasks for assessment included blanket bog condition assessment, archaeological prospecting and inventory, historical mining analysis, moorland and heathland extent, and hedgerow/field boundary mapping. LIDAR and CASI (hyperspectral) data were used for the tasks in this pilot study, with Geomatics Group surveying approximately 18% of the National Park (180 km2), capturing 50cm resolution LIDAR data and 1m resolution CASI data.


The Geomatics group of the environment agency have a website with information about EO surveys, tools and analysis containing case studies in habitat mapping as well as flood and erosion monitoring.


Assessing the Potential of Using Remote Sensing in Support of Current Phytophthora Work


FERA undertook a project using EO in identification of areas of larch (Larix) plantations to investigate the relationship between these plantations and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) / heather (Calluna vulgaris) heathland.


Inventory of terrestrial and freshwater BAP priority habitats and Annex 1 habitats (Commissioned Report 445)

(Scottish Natural Heritage)

This report reviews existing habitat information that is available to create habitat inventories for all terrestrial and freshwater BAP and Annex 1 habitats in Scotland. The report shows that there is existing habitat data for roughly half of Scotland and it includes suggestions of various options of using EO to complete the inventories. Subsequent studies have been undertaken to look further at the role of EO for mapping habitats in Scotland


EU projects/resources



The EAGLE group (Eionet Action Group on Land monitoring in Europe) was set up in 2009 by members of EIONET NRCs on land cover as a response to the growing need to discuss solutions for a better integration and harmonization of national mapping activities with European land monitoring initiatives (i.e. CLC) at technical level, independently from any political or industry preferences, following the concept of a bottom-up approach.

They have produced the EAGLE matrix, a tool for semantic comparison between the class definitions of different classification systems by decomposing them to land cover components, land use attributes and further landscape characteristics.


High Resolution Layers

GMES/Copernicus Initial Operations land (GIO land), implemented by the EEA, is producing five high resolution layers (HRLs) on land cover characteristics.  These HRLs map the Degree of imperviousness, Forest (tree cover density and forest type), Permanent grasslands, Wetlands and Water bodies.


MS Monina

The project offers remote sensing based monitoring services for observing and managing the state of NATURA 2000 sites across Europe and other precious habitats to reduce the loss of biodiversity.



BIO_SOS is the abbreviation of Biodiversity Multi-SOurce Monitoring System: From Space To Species and it is a project that aims to develop tools and models for consistent multi-annual monitoring of NATURA 2000 sites and their surroundings. The emphasis of the project is on NATURA 2000 sites in the Mediterranean part of Europe, but also sites in the Netherlands and Wales.



A classification framework for habitat status reporting with reporting with remote sensing methods.