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 European Commission > Eurostat > Land cover/use statistics (LUCAS) > Methodology


The LUCAS survey

LUCAS stands for Land Use and Cover Area frame Survey. The aim of the LUCAS survey is to gather harmonised data on land use/cover and their changes over time. In addition the survey provides territorial information facilitating the analysis of the interactions between agriculture, environment and countryside.

  • LUCAS is an in-situ area frame survey, which means that the data is gathered through direct observations by the surveyors on the ground. Land cover data can also be obtained by photo interpreting satellite images or orthophotos.
  • The land cover/use statistics derived from the LUCAS survey are unique as they are fully harmonised (same definitions and methodology) and comparable among Member States.

  • The land cover and the visible land use are classified according to the harmonized LUCAS land cover and land use nomenclatures. The full survey supporting documents consist of field form, where all the measured variables are listed, surveyors' instructions, which give detailed instructions to the field surveyors and of the quality control procedures. The full description of the statistical data set is available in the land cover/use statistics metadata attached to the data.
  • The latest LUCAS survey was carried out at EU level in 2012.
    LUCAS points belong to the intersections of a 2 km grid that includes around 1 million points all over the EU. During the LUCAS 2012 survey, a sample of 270 000 of these points was visted on the spot by 750 field surveyors. The selection of the points is done on the basis of stratification information.
  • In Bulgaria and Romania the LUCAS 2012 survey included a soil module. As in 2009 a top soil sample was collected on 10 % of the points. The objective of the soil module is to improve the availability of harmonised data on soil parameters in Europe. The LUCAS soil was implemented in co-operation with DG Environment and DG Joint Research Centre. The results will be available in 2014.

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Last update 21.10.2013