Saturday, March 05, 2022

The Australian Land Cover Map

The Digital Earth: Australia Land Cover map is a collection of annual land cover maps for Australia. The map allows users to explore Australian land usage for any year between 1988 and 2020, allowing you to see how the environment has changed over time. Using the map you can explore land cover changes resulting from bushfires, the natural fluctuations in vegetation cover over time, and more permanent changes to land cover resulting from urban development. 

The map breaks down Australia's landscape into six basic land cover classes, and more than 80 detailed sub-classes.The six basic land cover classes include natural vegetation, cultivated vegetation and artificial surfaces. Each of these six land cover classes and 80 sub-classes are shown on the map using different colors.

A comparison tool allows you to see how land cover has changed over the years by switching between the land coverage maps of any two years. For example, using the comparison tool, you can see the extent of vegetation loss resulting from the 2019-2020 bushfire season by comparing the land cover maps of 2019 and 2020. You can also use the comparison tool to see how urban development have encroached on natural environments. For example the animated GIF above shows the development of the third runway and adjacent freight terminal at Sydney Airport in Botany Bay by comparing maps from 1988  and 2020. 

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