The “Land Cover” layer of EUROSION database is exclusively derived from the CORINE Land Cover database version 1990 (CLC 1990). CLC 1990 features 44 different classes of land cover which may be grouped into 5 major land cover types (urban areas, agricultural areas, natural and semi-natural areas, wetlands, and water bodies). The present screenshot is an excerpt from CLC 1990 in the region of Brest (France). Urban areas appear in red, agricultural lands in orange or yellow, and natural areas (mainly forest) in green.

Data description

Data contained in this layer are twofold:

  • land cover data provided in vector format (polygons) and at scale 1:100,000. The minimum polygone size is 25 hectares. Land cover is organised in 44 different classes distributed into 5 categories (urbanised areas, agricultural areas, natural and semi-natural areas, wetlands, and water bodies) and with 3 levels of details
  • land cover changes since 1975 provided in vector format (polygons) and at scale 1:100,000 as well. Land cover changes since 1975 only reports which polygons had a change of their land cover type since 1975.

Data of this layer are restricted to the 10 km land strip from the coastline

Source of data

Souces of data on land cover and land cover changes are threefold :

  • CORINE Land Cover version 1990 provides data which result from a visual analysis of LANDSAT and SPOT satellite images (mainly from 1987 to 1994) and interpreted with the support of ancillary data (such as aerial photographs, topographical maps, or ecological maps). The 44 classes nomenclature of CORINE Land Cover (and therefore EUROSION) is standardized for all Europe which makes comparison and aggregation at the European level easier. Note that CORINE Land Cover version 2000 is under development by the European Environment Agency.
  • LaCoast project. LaCoast is a research project undertaken in the mid 1990 under the lead of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and aimed at quantifying the changes of land cover types in a 10 km land strip from the coastline. LaCoast uses CORINE Land Cover version 1990 as its reference dataset and track differences of land cover changes using LANDSAT satellite images from the mid-1970’s .
  • EUROSION is extending the methodology of LaCoast to other European countries not currently covered by LaCoast. The same methodology was used to ensure consistency, easy comparison, and quick aggregation.


CORINE Land Cover does not include at this stage validated data for Sweden (validation in process), and no data at all for Malta and Cyprus. These countries have therefore not been included in the EUROSION layer.
EUROSION is extending the current LaCoast database - with the same specifications – to Poland, Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia. United Kingdom, Sweden, and Finland are not covered due to incompatibilities between CORINE Land cover data in these countries and the LaCoast methodology.

Quality CORINE Land Cover data have undergone several quality controls by the EEA. Geometrical accuracy is relatively good however some inconsistencies exist at the border between different countries (e.g. France and Belgium). The quality of LaCoast data is currently being controlled by the JRC. Results will be shortly known. As for the extension to accessing countries quality results look very satisfactory.
Copyright and data access conditions CORINE Land cover data are accessible for free from the European Environment Agency (EEA). LaCoast data have to be requested to the Joint Research Centre (JRC). As for data extended by EUROSION, they will be freely accessible upon request.