This study will support USGS land cover research to generate and validate continuous field global land cover datasets. The continuous field data will be produced for percent tree, percent barren, percent water, and percent other vegetation. This procedure requires extensive reserach on satellite data pre-processing, image classification and results validation using Landsat 30m and entails developing innovative techniques to automatically process and characterize large volumes of data.
Advanced research is needed to produce continuous field data for the year 2000 and 2010 and annual update of continuous field data from 2010 onward. This involves analyses of very high resolution (1-4 m) data for training and validation. Results validation needs to be performed following Global Observations of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC/GOLD) and other international standards. The methods will be used to identify land cover change products and 'hot spots' (areas with major land cover changes) around the world.