At the heart of the remote sensing industry

Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan



Land Cover Classification

Land cover classification has been used for a long time, but automatic identification remains difficult. With the effective use of satellite data, classification can done cheaply and easily.

The cover of the entire landmass of Japan is mapped onto a roughly 30 m grid


The chart above is a land cover classification for Tokyo. It shows the broad spread of housing into the open fields west of Tokyo over the 30 years since 1972, and the expansion of the urban area to the east.

These three charts were created using images from LANDSAT, the US satellite. The collection of such land cover classification data began decades ago, but no practical method has yet been established for automated analysis from satellite images. Statistical processing is still required, and improving precision remains a challenge.

However, land use changes from one minute to the next, and if our purpose is to understand these trends, it is vital to have access to accurate information at a low cost, covering a broad area. These are just the conditions that necessitate the land cover classification data obtained from ALOS satellite images.

For Japan, land cover data for the whole country is already mapped in a 30 m grid (see example on right page). This base data can be updated in the future by adding ALOS-2 and LANDSAT data to it.

The precise land-use and land-cover map is generated using mainly AVNIR-2 in Japan

ALOS データの土地の被覆分類の一例

This chart is an example of precise land-use, and land-cover map is generated using mainly AVNIR-2 in Japan by JAXA. This kind of land cover data is already available for the entire landmass of Japan.

Classification on this map is 9 category, 1)Water, 2)Urban, 3)Paddy, 4) Crop, 5)Grass, 6)Deciduous Forest, 7)Evergreen Forest, 8)Bare Surface and 9)Snow and Ice.

This classification can be modified to meet your needs, and it will of course continue to be updated using the latest satellite data. We will provide highly accessible data on changes in land on a continuous basis.