CCI LAND COVER – S2 prototype Land Cover 20m map of Africa 2016


The CCI Land Cover (LC) team is proud to announce the successful development of a prototype high resolution LC map at 20m over Africa based on 1 year of Sentinel-2A observations from December 2015 to December 2016. The main objective of the 'S2 prototype LC map at 20m of Africa 2016' release is to collect users feedback for further improvements.

The Coordinate Reference System used for the global land cover database is a geographic coordinate system (GCS) based on the World Geodetic System 84 (WGS84) reference ellipsoid.

The legend of the S2 prototype LC 20m map of Africa 2016 was built after reviewing various existing typologies (e.g. LCCS, LCML…), global (e.g. GLC-share, GlobeLand30) and national experiences (Africover, SERVIR-RMCD). The legend includes 10 generic classes that appropriately describe the land surface at 20m: "trees cover areas", "shrubs cover areas", "grassland", "cropland", "vegetation aquatic or regularly flooded", "lichen and mosses / sparse vegetation", "bare areas", "built up areas", "snow and/or ice" and "open water".

Among the Land Cover classes, two of them were largely identified thanks to external dataset: the "open water" class was based on the Global Surface Water product from JRC/EC and the "urban areas" relied both on the Global Human Settlement Layer from JRC/EC and on the Global Urban Footprint from DLR.

Two classification algorithms, the Random Forest (RF) and Machine Learning (ML), were chosen to transform the cloud-free reflectance composites generated by the pre-processing module into a land cover map. The two maps resulting from both approaches are then combined either to select the best representation of a land cover class which will be part of the final S2 prototype LC 20m map of Africa 2016 or, in case of unreliable LC class delineation, the reference layer is used to consolidate the land cover classification.


Considering the heavy download related to the full S2 prototype LC 20m map of Africa 2016, a web interface was developed to mainly visualize and interact with data.
A left click, anywhere on the layer, highlights the LC-Map label of the selected pixel in the legend description of the left panel.

Go to the viewer


In this section the user can download the full S2 prototype LC 20m map of Africa 2016 product in GeoTIFF format with a size of approximatively 6GB and the colour legend. Please ensure that you have the appropriate internet connection and computer capacity. Please be aware that this prototype map is the first step of the production of a land cover map at 20 m for Africa. The prototype is made available in order to collect user feedbacks for the necessary improvements.

Download product


A post validation has been performed by IASA in the frame of CrowdVal project, using crowdsourcing and innovative approaches to evaluate and validate ESA's land cover products.
More information are available here.

Download the final report of the CrowdVal project

Contact points

We invite you to contact us at for:

  • questions regarding the content and usage of the above-mentioned products
  • general comments, feedback or questions about the S2 prototype LC 20m map of Africa 2016




Updated at: 17/05/2021