FACT AlpsLand

Focus Activity Alpine Wide Land Cover Mapping

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  • Project duration: January 2022 - December 2022
  • Project status:
    Approval by the Scientific Committee
  • Funding:
    Internal funding EURAC (Project)

This project aims at preparing a new classification of land cover over the European Alps as defined by the Alpine Convention. During the project main activities aim at finding the best available training data based on a mixture of existing mapping products and in situ observations like e.g., the LUCAS dataset, defining the best features based on satellite data and train models of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms. During the AI4EBV project an operational processing chain for a specific legend of ecosystems has been developed and run in the Microsoft Azure cloud. This technology will now be deployed also in the Eurac processing cluster and applied on the archive of Sentinel imagery available in Eurac. In the ECO4Alps project further a processing chain has been applied for covering mostly the eastern alps. This project now aims at creating a final map at annual interval for the complete European Alps.

-    Financing program: Focus Activity
-    Objectives + planned Achievements (Output): Provide annual land cover maps for the full alps from 2016 and onwards. Publish the methodology as a peer reviewed paper and publish the maps as open data.

Strategically this demonstrate that Eurac is able to carry out high resolution mapping activities a large area scale and supports research activities in many other projects, where accurate land cover mapping outside of our local regions is often missing. This further shows our role as a competence centre for the whole alps and complements activities like the Sentinel Alpine Observatory in past years and the recent Alpine Drought Observatory.

contact person: Alexander Jacob alexander.jacob@eurac.edu, Ruth Sonnenschein ruth.sonnenschein@eurac.edu

Even though many land cover products exist on European and Global scale, none of them is tailored specifically for alpine terrain and the particularities of mountain regions. This activity consolidates latest developments carried out in the ESA EO4Alps Eco4Alps project and the Microsoft and Geo funded project AI4EBV. During those projects the existing land cover maps have been scrutinized and tested for the usage in alpine regions and have been found lacking severely in terms of accuracy in the alpine terrain. During those projects operational workflows for the production of land cover maps have already been setup but are either not covering the full area or not detailed enough in the classification scheme, to allow a broad set of users to benefit from it. During this project the goal is to generate a general-purpose land cover map at annual scale at the high resolution available through the Copernicus sentinel satellites in the range of 10-20m per pixel.

The project splits this work into 4 work packages.
Work package 1 is the general management of the project and is making sure that the project progresses with respect to its timeline and goals.

Work package 2 is focusing on the science necessary for improving the land cover mapping with respect to existing products. Main activities in this work package focus on the one hand on the best methodology for sampling training data and filtering it from outliers etc. and on the other hand on the best methodology for classification including the selection and generation of appropriate features as well as the testing different machine learning classifiers and configurations of them.

Work package 3 focus on the production of the land cover maps based on the methods developed in work package 2. This includes as main activities the deployment of a suitable processing chain in the Eurac cluster and making sure that the code is running scalable for large areas without creating costly overheads.

Work package 4 focuses on the dissemination of the results and makes sure that all researchers have enough time to publish the results towards the end of the project.

Project Team
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Facilitating the next generation of effective and intelligent water-related policies utilising ...

Duration: August 2021 - December 2021Funding:
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