If your beat covers topics related to land cover — such as agriculture, forestry, urbanization, floodplains, coastal development, wildlife habitat, climate change, and many others — you may want to check out a new high-resolution map of the world.
An international consortium, including groups such as the European Space Agency (ESA) and the United Nations Environment Programme, provided a sneak preview of its new land cover map at a March 2008 workshop in Rome. The map is said to have a resolution 10 times better than any previous map, and has a cell size of 300 meters. There are 22 land use categories, based on satellite imagery from 2005-2006. The final, publicly accessible product is expected to be launched in July 2008. The map was developed as part of a larger project, dubbed GlobCover.
For a glimpse of what lies ahead, see an ESA press release of March 17, 2008.