Land cover – Reference layer - Bulgaria

Reference layer for the territory of Bulgaria


The Bulgarian initiative for development of a national land cover database, using the methodology of Food and Agriculture Organization – Land Cover Classification System (FAO-LCCS) is an example for applying of best international practices in supporting decision making at local (national) level. The reference database – land cover layer of the territory of Republic of Bulgaria is entirely developed by experts from the Agency for Sustainable Development and Eurointegration – Ecoregions (ASDE) and the Remote Sensing Application Center – ReSAC.

The reference land cover layer is developed, based on satellite images from Landsat satellite (USA) from 2009 with spatial resolution 30 m. Towards every land cover spatial object, information about altitude and slope is provided. A check of reliability of interpreted data has been done and thematic accuracy of 85% has been achieved.

Bulgaria is the first member state of the European Union, which has started land cover database, based on the worldwide methodology LCCS (Land Cover Classification System) throughout the territory of Bulgaria and updated from 2009 – 2010. Another member state, which has built similar database, relying on the Bulgarian experience, is Romania.

Referent layer is in continuous upgrading in regard to degree of details - monitoring of changes, spatial resolution and number of classes, in depend of various use cases, national level projects, where is implemented served as a basement for comparative analysis of existing administrative vector information.

Follow-up activity of the above initiated elaboration of detailed Land cover thematic maps of all major regional cities (NUTS3), by the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, which elaboration concerns intersection of various thematic data, such as city cadaster, administrative boundaries from regulation, infrastructure, agricultural and forest cadaster.

At this stage, regional and municipal authorities could exploit this opportunity where to integrate their own information, such as municipal cadastre, and other raw administrative data which need to be updated and harmonised with up to date reference data. This outcome aims to support regular monitoring activities on regional cities, especially dedicated to risk mapping - detailed land use mapping, exposure and loss (damage) information. This action will enhance the Disaster Risk Management related actions, will increase the resilience of communities to disasters and will contribute to their effective preparation, monitoring and response to various hazards. Similarly, this information will be used to assess their vulnerability and coping capacity to natural disasters.

Assessment of potential impacts of natural disasters (hazards) on anthropogenic activities and assets requires understanding on which specific elements are exposed. These elements could be any of the following: people, households, living districts, infrastructure (critical, transport, other), as well as agricultural and environmental assets.

Referent Layer - BULCOVER

The reference database – land cover layer within the territory of Republic of Bulgaria – „BULCOVER“ is entirely prepared by experts from the Agency for Sustainable Development and Eurointegration - Ecoregions (ASDE) and the Remote Sensing Application Center (ReSAC), executive supported by experts from the FAO-UN. Referent Layer is representative for the LC/LU in Bulgaria for the year of 2010. At next level, it is expected overbuilding of database in larger cartographic scale and including of more land cover classes.

Референтен слой - земно покритие на България по Landsat5

The product is available in vector format, with specifications, corresponding to cartographic scale 1:50 000. It is accessible from the “Web GIS environment” menu, where a User name and a Password for access must be submitted.

Database is submitted to the Executive Agency “Electronic Communication Networks and Information Systems” (ECNIS) to Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications and it can be used when building a National geoportal for the needs of harmonization of spatial data and other purposes.

The reference database for Bulgaria, developed using LCCS, is one of the first attempts the global approach for management and observation of ground and landuse being combined with a similar approach at local and national level.

Връзка между глобалния и местния слоеве земно покритие

This database is in accordance with the international project GLOBCOVER, in which the European Union, USA, Russia, Canada and other countries all over the world take part.

The reference land cover layer will be used in accordance with the implementation of Directive 2/2007/EC, Directive 60/2007/EC, as well as other Directives and European Union programs. The reference layer includes updated information on relief (from SRTM v4, from DG JRC) and main land cover types, as in that way an appropriate product for planning and management of the territory is created.

WARNING: Using of this product for different applications is a paid service and in this way it is protected by copyright law.
Please, contact us for access to the service!

Land Cover of the 27 regional cities in Bulgaria

Creating the capacity for operational phase of the programme Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (currently – COPERNICUS) and development a reference database on land cover to support the elaboration of a national spatial data infrastructure and transportation/application of the Directive 2007/02/EO - INSPIRE.

In partnership with the State administration, municipalities, civil groups, research organizations, universities and research institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, ASDE participate in the progressive development of operational capacity to implement the requirements of the Directive 2007/02/EO and the Programme Global Monitoring for Environment and security (GMES), currently as Programme "COPERNICUS".

One of the results is the mapping of land cover for the regional cities in Bulgaria on the basis of satellite images with high resolution. The maps are in scale 1:5 000, using images with spatial resolution of 0.5 to 1 meter from different satellites - "Ikonos", "Quickbird" and "Eros". The research/development project has been finalized in 2010 and published on the web-site of BSDI.

Digitalized maps and databases are available to the beneficiary - Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works – Department "Technical rules and regulations." The maps were are developed in coordination with the State Agency for Information Technologies and Communications (currently Executive Agency “Electronic communications networks and information systems”), which started the development of an information system of the harmonization of the spatial data and risk & crisis management.

At this stage, the regional and municipal authorities can verify aggregates in urban areas, by the main areas - industrial zones, residential quarters, green areas, etc. It is possible to explore differences between agricultural, urban and forest cadastre and to identify measures to clean up the errors, ambiguities, missing or unregistered property changes and activities. A regular monitoring of the regional city LC/LU maps is proposed to state and municipal authorities.

Under local municipalities orders, work is going on for preparation of more detailed maps of land cover for the regional cities that will enable to verify the cadastral map of the city, regulatory maps, thematic maps of infrastructure, as well as maps of land, environment and agricultural land around the city.

All this activity is in compliance with the Directive 2007/02/EO (also known as Directive INSPIRE), which requires the harmonization of spatial data in Bulgaria, and the next priority - spatial data in border areas, especially where there are bilateral and international infrastructure projects . The Directive is in force and obligatory for Bulgaria from 04.2007.

Each district and municipal administrations (district of the city), which provide cadastral map in digital form at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works - Department "Technical rules and regulations" will get back an analysis of land cover and attached to a satellite image cadastral map, so can verify the possible differences or omissions.

With the permission of the beneficiary, ASDE presents the maps of the district towns in pdf format for free use by citizens and organizations on its website, as well as experimentally elaborated portal - Bulgarian spatial data infrastructure.

Risk Mapping Related Activities

Since 2005, ASDE is collaborating with the EC scientific hub – the Joint Research Centre. One of the priority areas of partnership is data accuracy and harmonization, regular monitoring of changes, as well as risk prevention and strengthening resilient society. ASDE concept for data harmonization includes the establishment of a reference land cover/land use data layer, as fundamental for integration of other thematic spatial data bases. Such reference layer is of crucial importance for risk and crisis management as determining the potential impacts of natural or human made hazards on communities requires an understanding of which specific elements are exposed and objective information on these elements.
Since exposed data includes spatial location information, once the hazard footprint is determined, therefore spatial analysis could be used to quickly identify risk components. Possible use case could be estimation of the number of buildings and infrastructure assets, replacement costs of building assets, population estimation, vulnerable demographic society estimation (poor societies, ghettos), agriculture assets which are highly exposed to potential impact within a hazard footprint.

Vulnerability assessment is explicitly linked with the attributes/metrics of exposure (build up space, land use, infrastructure, demography, environment etc.). This information is often available only at local scale part of cadastral plans, critical infrastructure engineering, = etc., and administrated by different institutions at national level which supposes difficulties in estimation and is hard to be accessed on time or within short interval after disaster occurrence

Therefore, we are looking to develop a specific SDB - Local Exposure and Damage Information Dataset ( a quotation from texts of DG JRC E1 - Disaster Risk Management Unit), which in case of Bulgaria, is an added value and a complementary action to the spatial information activities that are already under development; this activity will increase the access to essential information at local scale for disaster risk assessment/prevention and will enhance Disaster Risk Management related actions.

Видин Монтана Плевен Русе Силистра Враца Ловеч Габрово Велико Търново Търговище Шумен Разград Добрич Варна София Перник Кюстендил Благоевград Пазарджик Пловдив Смолян Хасково Кърджали Стара Загора Сливен Ямбол Бургас

Please, just click with left mouse button over the red polygons of the cities to show the map

The general aim is the following three maps to be prepared for each city in Bulgaria:

"Land Cover Map - LCCS (FAO) for the city of Sofia
from LANDSAT-ETM (15 m)."
"Land Cover Map - LCCS (FAO) for the city of Sofia
from SPOT-5 (5 m)."
"Land Cover Map - LCCS (FAO) for the city of Sofia
от IKONOS-2 (1 m)."

Thematic maps of Referential database - land cover of the trans-European transport corridors, through the Republic of Bulgaria:

"Referential database - land cover of the trans-European transport corridors, through the Republic of Bulgaria, from Landsat ETM (30m) satellite imageries and classified on LCCS-FAO"
"Referential database - land cover of the trans-European transport corridors, through the Republic of Bulgaria, from SPOT 5 (5m) satellite imageries and classified on LCCS-FAO"