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Global Land Cover Characterization (GLCC)


 GLCC Land Cover Classification (North America)


GLCC Global Composite

Global Land Cover Characterization (GLCC) is a series of global land cover classification datasets that are based primarily on the unsupervised classification of 1-km AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) 10-day NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index ) composites. The AVHRR source imagery dates from April 1992 through March 1993. Ancillary data sources included digital elevation data, ecoregions interpretation, and country- or regional-level vegetation and land cover maps.

The following classifications are included in the GLCC database:

  • Global Ecosystems
  • IGBP Land Cover Classification
  • U.S. Geological Survey Land Use/Land Cover System
  • Simple Biosphere Model
  • Simple Biosphere 2 Model
  • Biosphere Atmosphere Transfer Scheme
  • Vegetation Lifeform

All of the GLCC classifications consist of raster images that contain class number values for each pixel that correspond to the appropriate classification scheme legend. Legends for each of the derived datasets are listed in the Appendix of the GLCC README.

All GLCC data is available in two forms:

  • GLCC (by continent) provides the GLCC classifications, as well as monthly NDVI composites, on a continent-by-continent basis (Africa, North America, South America, Eurasia, and Australia/Pacific). The continent GLCC data is available in the Interrupted Goode Homolosine or in the Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area projection. Nominal spatial resolution is 1 kilometer.
  • GLCC (global) data consists of the continent GLCC datasets which have been combined to produce a set of global GLCC composites. The global data is available in either the Interrupted Goode Homolosine or in geographic (latitude/longitude) coordinates. Nominal spatial resolution is 1 kilometer.

For every GLCC dataset, there are two versions available. Version 1 consists of GLCC data which has undergone complete accuracy assessment. Version 2 is updated GLCC which reflects additional data and sources, but accuracy assessment has not been completed.

All GLCC files are provided in flat headerless raster format. 

Additional Information:


Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2000)

Data Use and Citation Policies

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please see our Data Citations and Use page at

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Contact Information for User Assistance

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
47914 252nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57198-0001

Phone Number: 605-594-6151
Toll Free: 800-252-4547
Fax: 605-594-6589


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