Land Cover Information for the Baltic Sea Drainage Basin

Project Description
The Land Cover Information for the Baltic Sea Drainage Basin
(BALANS) developed a seamless, homogeneous land cover database
for the Baltic Sea Drainage Basin, based upon medium-resolution
satellite data. "Medium resolution" satellites provide
appropriate datasets for mapping very large areas. Their
multispectral (i.e. colour) images each cover from 350,000 km2
to over 600,000 km2, and yet show features smaller than 200
metres. By joining several such images together, land cover can
be mapped consistently over huge areas. The satellite-based
approach provides a realistic opportunity to produce land cover
information for the entire Baltic Sea Drainage Basin. Such
spatially and thematically detailed, update-able and
cost-effective data is of interest to many users.

The BALANS database provides a spatial resolution of 150 metres,
and provides land cover information in several general, as well
as in some more detailed classes. Currently, the basic database
has been established and a number of products can be derived to
meet users' specific needs for given geographical areas, data
formats (raster or vector), spatial resolution/scale, and
classification schemes. A generalised version of the database is
freely available, including the land cover classes Artificial
surfaces, Forest, Water, Wetlands, Snow/ice and other open
land. The minimum mapping unit is 10 hectares for water and 25
hectares for the remaining classes. This demonstration database
can be downloaded from the page "Download demo data", accessible
via the listbox in the upper right corner.

The original database has more detailed classes and a minimum
mapping unit of 150x150 metres. To buy this high-resolution
version, please turn to "Contact expert" via the listbox and
send us an E-mail from there.

The BALANS project was selected for financing by the European
Commission within the 4th Framework Programme. The 2.5 year
project finished in August 2001. The project team was led by
Metria Milj?analys, in collaboration with Finnish Environment
Institute, Novosat Oy, GRID-Arendal, GRID-Warsaw and Swedish
Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.

Additional information available at