Twinning Project TR02-EN-01
Capacity Building in the Field of Environment for Turkey (2004)
Component 3: Nature
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Basic Information on CORINE Land Cover Classification

provided in 2004 by Assoc. Prof. Dr. H. Kehl / formerly Inst. of Ecology / Berlin TU,
Email: harald.kehl(et)
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Information sources:  [last online access: 20.08.11]
CORINE means 'Coordination of Information on the Environment'  

and it was a prototype project working on many different environmental issues, especially on Land Cover Classification.

In 1985 the CORINE programme was initiated in the European Union in order to harmonize methods of data collection and evaluation.

The most important aims of CORINE formulated by the European Commission are:

  • to compile information on the state of environment eith regard to certain topics which have priority to all Member States of the Community,

  • to coordinate the compilation of data and the organization of information within the Member States or at international level,

  • to ensure that information on biophysical units is consistent and that data are compatible as a result of harmonized methods of data collection and evaluation.

  • The concept of terrestrial environment relates to the interaction between natural components of the geosphere and biosphere as well as to their interaction with social and economic factors, with special emphasis on the territory in which they are deeply rooted
The CORINE databases and several of its programmes  

have been taken over by the EEA with its Topic Centres European Topic Centre on (CORINE) Land Cover (ETC/LC, Sweden), and the European Topic Centre on Terrestrial Environment) (ETC/TE - Spain).

One of these programmes is an inventory of land cover, today called CORINE Land Cover (CLC).  
  It's NOT a habitat classification.  
  • Method: Computer assisted satellite photo-interpretation
  • Ancillary data: topographic maps, vegetation maps, land use statistics, etc
  • Working scale: 1:100,000
  • Minimum mapping unit: 25 hectares
  • Minimum linear feature width: 100 m (Linear features smaller than 100 m wide are not considered and generalised)
  • Nomenclature: hierarchically structured in 3 levels: 44 classes for level 3 (cf. table below!)
  • Cartographic projection: Lambert azimuthal equal area
  • Various projections in country databases
  • Implementation: national teams
  • Supervision: Land Cover Technical Unit
  • Overall classification reliability: better than 85 percent
  • Geometric accuracy compared to topographic map: <100 meters RMS
Flowchart of CLC mapping Basic characteristics of the CLC database
  WWW-Source: URL  
  CORINE 44 Classes at level 3 - For details compare "Nomenclature Definitions" (page 22)  
Important: The CLC Inventory is based on satellite images as the primary information source. The use of earth observation data has important implications on the nomenclature, mapping unit and scale.  


  • This database is operationally available for most areas of Europe.
  • Original inventories, based on and interpreted from satellite imagery as well as ancillary information sources, are stored within national institutions.
  • The European reference database is owned by GISCO, the European Commission geographical information system, which is a part of the European Statistic Agency, Eurostat.
  • The ETCs are managing the CORINE database (the production database) on behalf of EEA and delivers the updated database to GISCO every 12 months.
The results of the large-scale CORINE Land Cover (CLC) - biophysical - Classification  

are not directly comparable with the results of the small-scale EUNIS or NATURA 2000 classification results, respectively.

Anyhow, the classes of CLC can be cross-matched to those of the EUNIS Habitat types (ecosystems) classification.

EXAMPLE for CORINE Land Cover Classification HTML
Basic Information on CORINE data collection, management and analysis
Part 1. Methodology (with nomenclature, method, etc., 94 pp.) 3,56MB

Part 2.1 Nomenclature (illustrations)

  Part 2.2 Agricultural Areas (illustrations, 16 pp.) 3,74MB
  Part 2.3 Forests and semi-natural areas (16 pp.) 4,23MB
  Part 2.4 Wetlands (illustrations, 8 pp.) 1,42MB
  Part 2.5 Waterbodies (illustration, 8 pp.) 1,62MB
  Corine land cover update 2000: Technical guidelines (56 pp.) 1,12MB

Copyright © Dr. Harald Kehl
Alumnus der TU-Berlin - Institut für Ökologie

Updated on 2020-11-08