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ISLSCP II IGBP DISCover and SiB Land Cover, 1992-1993
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Revision date: September 29, 2009


This data set provides the geographic distributions of 17 classes of land cover based on the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program Data and Information System's (IGBP-DIS) DISCover land cover (Loveland and Belward 1997) and 15 classes of the Simple Biosphere(SiB) model processed at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observed and Science (EROS) Data Center (EDC). There are six zip files compiled according to land cover classification scheme (IGBP DISCOVER and SiB), and spatial resolution (one-, half-, and quarter-degree), each containing data files in standard ESRI ArcGIS ArcInfo ASCII Grid format for each land cover class and the dominate landcover class.

The objective of this study was to create a land cover map derived from 1 kilometer AVHRR data using a full year of data (April 1992-March 1993). This thematic map was resampled to 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 degree grids for the International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project (ISLSCP) data initiative II. During this re-processing, the original EDC land cover type and fraction maps were adjusted to match the water/land fraction of the ISLSCP II land/water mask. These maps were generated for use by global modelers and others.

Additional Documentation

This data set is one of the products of the International Satellite Land-Surface Climatology Project, Initiative II (ISLSCP II) data collection which contains 50 global time series data sets for the ten-year period 1986 to 1995. A complete description of the data, their derivation, acknowledgements, and references provided by the ISLSCP II Data Management Staff is included with this data set as a companion file named 1_edc_landcover_doc.pdf.

ISLSCP II is a consistent collection of data sets that were compiled from existing data sources and algorithms, and were designed to satisfy the needs of modelers and investigators of the global carbon, water and energy cycle. The data were acquired from a number of U.S. and international agencies, universities, and institutions. The data and documentation have undergone two peer reviews.

ISLSCP is one of several projects of Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) [] and has the lead role in addressing land-atmosphere interactions -- process modeling, data retrieval algorithms, field experiment design and execution, and the development of global data sets.


Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

Loveland, T., J. Brown, D. Ohlen, B. Reed, Z. Zhu, L. Yang, and S. Howard . 2009.ISLSCP II IGBP DISCover and SiB Land Cover, 1992-1993. In Hall, Forrest G., G. Collatz, B. Meeson, S. Los, E. Brown de Colstoun, and D. Landis (eds.). ISLSCP Initiative II Collection. Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/930


File Information:

The archived data sets for ISLSCP II have been organized by categories. This data set is in the vegetation category--a collection of vegetation and albedo data sets.

Data Set Spatial Extent: Global gridded

Western most Longitude: -180 W

Easternmost Longitude: 180 E

Northernmost Latitude: 90N

Southernmost Latitude: -90S

Projection: Geographic

Data Set Spatial Resolution: 1/4, 1/2, and 1 degrees in both latitude and longitude

Data Set Temporal Extent: February through July in 1995

Data Set Temporal Resolution: Synoptic months February and July in 1995

Data File Format:

All of the data files in each data set within the ISLSCP Initiative II data collection are in ESRI ASCII GRID format for ArcInfo. All files are gridded to a common equal-angle lat/long grid. The data files are grouped by spatial resolution and each file has 6 header metadata rows.

      1-degree metadata: ncols360, nrows180, xllcorner-180, yllcorner-90 ,cellsize 1, NODATA_value -99

      Half-degree metadata: ncols 720, nrows 360, xllcorner-180, yllcorner-90, cellsize.5, NODATA_value -99

      Quarter-degree metadata: ncols 1440, nrows 720, xllcorner-180, yllcorner-90, cellsize .25, NODATA_value -99

The data files have been combined and named according to land cover classification scheme and spatial resolution:







The ISLSCP II staff processed the original files by comparing the original data set for consistency against the ISLSCP II land/water mask.

Data Values:
All values are written as floating point values.

Missing values are assigned the value of -99 on all data layers.

Missing values over land are assigned the value of -88.

Within each of the *.zip files, the data files fall into the following categories. Data file naming conventions are described in the 0_edc_landcover_readme.txt file.


Land Cover Types:

IGBP = International Geosphere Biosphere Program

IGBP Land Cover Legend
Value Description
0 Water Bodies
1 Evergreen Needleleaf Forest
2 Evergreen Broadleaf Forest
3 Deciduous Needleleaf Forest
4 Deciduous Broadleaf Forest
5 Mixed Forest
6 Closed Shrublands
7 Open Shrublands
8 Woody Savannas
9 Savannas
10 Grasslands
11 Permanent Wetlands
12 Croplands
13 Urban and Built-Up
14 Cropland/Natural Vegetation Mosaic
15 Permanent Snow and Ice
16 Barren or Sparsely Vegetated
17 Unclassified

SiB = Simple Biosphere model
Description = land cover class occupying majority of the cell

Simple Biosphere (SiB) Model Legend
Value Description
0 Water Bodies
1 Evergreen Broadleaf Trees
2 Broadleaf Deciduous Trees
3 Deciduous and Evergreen Trees
4 Evergreen Needleleaf Trees
5 Deciduous Needleleaf Trees
6 Ground Cover with Trees and Shrubs
7 Groundcover Only
8 Broadleaf Shrubs with Perennial Ground Cover
9 Broadleaf Shrubs with Bare Soil
10 Groundcover with Dwarf Trees and Shrubs
11 Bare Soil
12 Agriculture or C3 Grassland
13 Persistent Wetland
14 Ice Cap and Glacier
15 Missing Data


Data Access:

These data are available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC),   [].

Data Archive Contact Information:

Telephone: +1 (865) 241-3952


T.R. Loveland and A.S. Belward. 1997. The IGBP-DIS global 1 km land cover data set, DISCover: First results, International Journal of Remote Sensing 18 (1997), pp. 3291–3295.