Full text: International cooperation and technology transfer

to farmers, establishment of a rural development 
policy including protection and improving the 
environment), the Regional Cohesion policy 
(including a European Spatial Development 
Perspective, Initiatives on Urban Areas etc.) or the 
transport policy (e.g. Trans European Networks). On 
national and international level, mostly geo- 
referenced statistical data is used for the formulation 
of polices in various fields such as agriculture, 
forestry, rural development and landscape, 
environment, urban areas etc. On local and regional 
level mostly geographic map data on land cover / 
land use is required for purposes of town 
management and administration, spatial planning, 
environmental monitoring etc. 
For answering the needs numerous information 
systems on land cover and land use do exist in 
European countries at all levels but when it comes 
to analysis at the European level these are not 
harmonised and not comparable regarding the 
content point of view and the geographic point of 
The problem of compatibility between the data from 
different systems is of crucial importance: 
• Information systems or data sets are created for 
specific sectoral purposes (e.g. for agriculture 
statistics, forest resource assessment, 
environment monitoring etc.). The different 
'universes' of the sectors are overlapping each 
other but the land use or land cover categories 
are not compatible. 
• Data collection follows different approaches: 
exhaustive mapping vs. statistical sampling 
approaches. Depending on the purpose of the 
application and the financial resources available 
one or the other approach is chosen. Earth 
observation provides raw data (aerial 
photographs or satellite imagery) covering large 
areas but the information derived thereof 
satisfies only partly the requirements. 
• Spatial restitution units applied in the statistical 
approaches are varying greatly (from census 
block level to national or even European level). 
• Mapping units vary depending on the defined 
scale so that geometry and data content, even 
with the same subject, are not compatible. 
This situation is not satisfying regarding the need of 
comparable information at the international level. 
Existing data may only be harmonised at the 
European level with great limitations or not at all. It 
means that suitable data required for applications at 
the European level, consistent in terms of thematic 
content and geographic detail / restitution and 
covering the whole area of interest (so at least the 
15 EU Member States), is simply not available. 
Improvement of the situation described above can 
be achieved through different approaches. One 
approach to that problem is to carry out projects at 
European level. The CORINE Land Cover project 
launched by the European Commission in 1985 
aimed at satisfying the needs for basic data on land 
cover and land use in environmental applications. 
Today, the European Environment Agency (EEA), 
now responsible for the CORINE program (Co 
ordination of information related to the environment) 
plans for an up-date of the CORINE Land Cover 
database. Specific surveys are carried out for 
specific purposes, e.g. the operational activities 
developed by the MARS project (Monitoring 
Agriculture with Remote Sensing) through regional 
inventories or the fraud control on subsidies for the 
Directorate General for Agriculture (DG AGRI) of the 
European Commission. 
Harmonisation and integration of existing data sets 
is another way to overcome the problem. As already 
mentioned the results of land cover / land use data 
integration are very limited today because of the 
many incompatibilities of the data sets and the 
necessary generalisation and aggregation 
procedures. To comply with its mission 'to provide 
the European Union with a high-quality information 
service' Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the 
European Communities, re-activated in 1996 a 
working group on land use statistics that is dealing 
with the subject. During the meetings, the problems 
are identified and discussed at technical and 
institutional level. The conclusions drawn by the 
working group are input to the Eurostat statistical 
work programme on land use statistics. Besides 
technical issues, Eurostat animates the co 
ordination of different Commission services 
concerned with land cover / use information, that are 
the Directorate General for Agriculture (DG AGRI), 
the Directorate General for Environment (DG ENV), 
the Directorate General for Regional Cohesion (DG 
REGIO) and the Directorate General Joint Research 
Centre (DG JRC). Execution of a part of this work 
programme is entrusted to CESD Communautaire. 
In the following chapters, the CESD approach to 
contribute to an improvement of the situation is 
CESD Communautaire established a work 
programme on land use information (CESD LU 
programme) in order to answer to Eurostat needs. 
CESD Communautaire, a non-profit organisation, 
was founded in 1989 by official statisticians of the 
EU Member States under the auspices of Eurostat 
with the objective to co-ordinate statistical co 
operation and development programmes with Non 
member countries of the European Union and to 
assist the European Statistical System in developing 
statistical methodologies. 
The overall objective of the CESD LU programme is 
to contribute to the improvement of the current 
situation. Following a problem analysis the work

Note to user

Dear user,

In response to current developments in the web technology used by the Goobi viewer, the software no longer supports your browser.

Please use one of the following browsers to display this page correctly.

Thank you.