Since the launch of the first land-observation satellite (Landsat-1) in 1972, land-cover mapping has accumulated a wide range of knowledge in the peer-reviewed literature. However, this knowledge has never been comprehensively analysed for new discoveries. Here, we developed the first spatialized database of scientific literature in English about land-cover mapping. Using this database, we tried to identify the spatial temporal patterns and spatial hotspots of land-cover mapping research around the world. Among other findings, we observed (1) a significant mismatch between hotspot areas of land-cover mapping and areas that are either hard to map or rich in biodiversity; (2) mapping frequency is positively related to economic conditions; (3) there is no obvious temporal trend showing improvement in mapping accuracy; (4) images with more spectral bands or a combination of data types resulted in increased mapping accuracies; (5) accuracy differences due to algorithm differences are not as large as those due to various types of data used; and (6) the complexity of a classification system decreases its mapping accuracy. We recommend that one way to improve our understanding of the challenges, advances, and applications of previous land-cover mapping is for journals to require area-based information at the time of manuscript submission. In addition, building a standard protocol for systematic assessment of land-cover mapping efforts at the global scale through international collaboration is badly needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)