Land Surface and Vegetation

The ability to efficiently and effectively characterize Canada’s vast land mass using satellite imagery is key to understanding our natural resources and underpins the strategies for land management aimed at achieving environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Land surface monitoring is required for assessing and predicting weather, climate, hydrology, wildlife habitat, and ecological status and trends. Since land surface characteristics vary in time and space, mapping approaches that employ satellite-based Earth Observations (EO) at different spatial and temporal scales are used to obtain information on land cover type, land use, and other land surface biophysical parameters including albedo, leaf area index, and vegetation (crop, shrub, forest) phenology.

Current research at the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation includes developing and improving EO based techniques for:

  • Land cover– the location, distribution and volume/density of land cover (vegetation, urban, water)
  • Biophysical Parameters – the quantitative, spatially and temporally explicit, descriptions of land surface conditions