I'm interested in both low (rough) and high (fine) resolution, open (free) and classified land cover raster data for Australia.

Ideally geodata sources; the less thematic classification is better; forest entity is the most important for my research.

3 Answers 3


The WRF Preprocessing System (WPS) has open land data and a documentation.

You could also try the NCAR data. There is land cover included but the webpage is unclear about the data access.

A data set only covering the years between 2001 and 2012 is the MODIS Land Cover. It is available as GeoTiff.

  • Which one should I try for Australia? Is the output a standard georeferenced raster format? Can I load it in QGIS?
    – pnz1337
    Feb 26, 2017 at 9:42
  • These are global data sets. Please check the documentation for details. I only used the clayfrac and the sandfrac data sets some years ago. The community is large, you should find answers to your questions and several documentations. Feb 26, 2017 at 10:27
  • Thank you. If there won't be any other sources, then I am going to try it. But I will wait with the accept, maybe others will share something processed raster geodata with a popular GIS format, like GeoTiff.
    – pnz1337
    Feb 26, 2017 at 15:01
  • I edited my answer and added two additional data sources I know about. One is in GeoTiff but only covers the years between 2001 and 2012. Feb 26, 2017 at 15:34

The official Australian Land Cover can be located here. However, it's a WMS only. You may be able to contact GeoScience Australia for a raster file.

The description:

The Land Cover map service includes information derived from the Dynamic Land Cover Dataset (2000-2008) containing Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) information. The service provides a base-line for identifying and reporting on change and trends in vegetation cover and extent. It is a cached service with a Web Mercator Projection.

A preview of the WMS can be found here.

In addition, there is also a land use dataset. While strictly speaking land use is not the same as land cover, they can be similar. Here is the official Australian Land Use dataset. It's a raster grid which has classified land uses across the entire country. The description:

The Land use of Australia 2010-11 is the latest in a series of digital national land use maps at national scale. Agricultural land uses and their spatial distributions are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2010-11 agricultural census data. The spatial distribution of the agricultural land uses is modelled and was determined using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite imagery with training data to make agricultural land use allocations. The non-agricultural land uses are drawn from existing digital maps covering seven themes: topographic features, catchment scale land use, protected areas, World Heritage Areas, tenure, forest type and vegetation condition.

A preview of the dataset can be found here.


The AusCover data portal is also likely to be of use here. Specifically, Land cover dynamics and phenology

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