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ReSAC participation in BULCOVER –the Bulgarian reference land cover geodatabase, using the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS-FAO-UN) – Contribution to INSPIRE Directive and GMES Operational Capacity.

Under a R&D project, ordered by the State Agency for Information Technologies and Communications ( now an Executive Agency – Electronic Communication Networks and Information Systems, in the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications) Remote Sensing Application Center – ReSAC, in cooperation with the Agency for Sustainable Development and Eurointegration – ECOREGION, developed the Bulgarian contribution for establishing of a model of a national spatial land cover database, based on the classification system of Food and Agriculture Organization – Land Cover Classification System (FAO-LCCS) of the United Nations.

The main purpose of the land cover dataset is to support decision making at national, regional and European level, as well as to give an opportunity for checking the up-to-date status and reliability of the different thematic spatial geodatabases, as required under the INSPIRE Directive 02/2007/ЕО. A registration of metadata for “Reference land cover database” was realized in accordance with the requirements of the Directive 02/07/EC and the “Spatial Data Access Act” of the Republic of Bulgaria, also under the same directive.

Implemented to GMES Regulation 911/2010 from September 22, 2010, the reference land cover layer gives an opportunity for better integration of space and in-situ information, application of simulation models, and conduction of prevention analysis of risk management and losses from past disasters.

The reference land cover layer is prepared, based on satellite images from the US satellite – Landsat from 2009 with spatial resolution 30 m. It is compliant to cartographic scale of 1: 50 000. Information about altitude and slope (derived from the SRTM 90 meter Digital elevation Model) is generated for every spatial land cover object. The subsequent data validation revealed a thematic accuracy of the land cover dataset of more than 85%.

Bulgaria is the first member state of the European Union, which has started land cover database, based on the worldwide methodology LCCS, throughout the territory of Bulgaria and updated in 2009. Another member state, which has built similar database, relying on the Bulgarian experience, is Romania. The first project applying the LCCS methodology was developed by ReSAC between 1999-2001 for a part of the territory of Bulgaria in the frame of TCP/BUL 8922 FAO project “Strengthening Capacity in Agricultural Development through Remote Sensing and GIS”.

The reference database – land cover layer within the territory of Republic of Bulgaria is entirely prepared by specialists from the Agency for Sustainable Development and Eurointegration – Ecoregions (ASDE) and the Remote Sensing Application Center (ReSAC).Consultations by the side of expert from FAO-UN have been also used.

On a next stage, further development of the land cover database toward better spatial resolution (compliant with larger cartographic scale) and including more land cover classes, is expected.