Corine Land Cover Mapping

The CORINE (Co-ORdinated INformation on the Environment) dataseries was established by the European Community (EC) as a means of compiling geo-spatial environmental information in a standardised and comparable manner across the European continent. The first iteration of the dataseries covered the reference year of 1990 with subsequent releases covering the years 2000, 2006 and 2012. The first dataset in 1990 provided a ‘snapshot’ baseline of the geographical distribution of natural and built environments across Europe. Through this baseline and subsequent updating of changes, CORINE has become a key data source for informing environmental and planning policy on a national and European level. CORINE is co-ordinated and part-financed by the European Environment Agency under the Copernicus (formerly GMES) land monitoring programme. On a national level in Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency has been co-ordinating the CORINE project since 2000 under its role as the Irish National Focal Point (NFP) and National Reference Centre (NRC) for EIONET and GMES Land monitoring activities. 

CORINE 2012 Update

The latest update of the CORINE landcover inventory - CORINE 2012 - is now available for Ireland. The 2012 update includes three separate data products which provide significant improvements to the pre-existing 2006 dataset and now provides the most up to date national scale information on landcover and landuse in Ireland:

  1. A revised 25ha 2006 CORINE landcover dataset
  2. A 5ha 2006-2012 CORINE landcover change dataset
  3. The new CORINE 2012 25ha landcover dataset

During the production of CORINE 2012, a new, semi-automated production methodology was designed and implemented by the Irish CORINE team. This approach utilised national in-situ geo-spatial information on agriculture, forestry and water bodies from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the Forest Service, Coillte and the EPA. These data sources were used alongside remote sensing based interpretation of satellite imagery to extensively revise the 2006 CORINE dataset, improving the spatial delineation (boundaries) of landcover features and also their internal thematic classification.

The 2006-2012 change dataset then mapped any changes > 5ha within the reference period of 2006-2012, also making use of up to-date national in-situ vector data. The change dataset was integrated into the revised 2006 dataset to produce the new 2012 landcover ‘update’ dataset. By revising the 2006 dataset first then mapping changes on from this dataset, accurate statistics on landcover change were produced whilst at the same time ensuring that revisions undertaken on the 2006 dataset were carried through to the 2012 dataset.

The Irish CORINE dataseries is significantly improved from 2006 onwards and the dataseries is also now aligned to and compatible with the most current and authoritative national landuse data available. It is envisaged that future iterations of CORINE will continue this process through referencing updated data from these sources. All three datasets and the associated project report can be viewed online or downloaded via the EPA’s GEOPORTAL site:

CORINE 2006 update

Continuing the CLC dataseries, CLCL 2006 produced a revised version of the CLC 2000 dataset, a 2000 - 2006 5ha change dataset and a new 25ha CLCL 2006 dataset. The new CLC 2006 dataset was produced by integrating the change dataset into the revised 2000 dataset. The process of mapping grasslands and peatlands to CORINE level 6, as was done in 2000, was not repeated in 2006. As part of the CLC 2006 project, the national team also undertook the verification of the GMES Soil sealing layer for Ireland which mapped artificial or ‘sealed’ surfaces at a 1ha resolution. 

CORINE 2000 update

The CLC2000 database was the first ‘update’ in the CORINE series since the initial benchmark year of 1990. An initial revision of the 1990 dataset was undertaken to correct any geometric and thematic errors and this was then followed by a 1990-2000 change dataset which mapped all changes > 5ha within that period. The change dataset was integrated into the revised 1990 dataset to produce the 2000 25ha ‘update’ dataset.

The CLC 2000 project for Ireland mapped landcover to CORINE level 6 in the grassland and peatland classes in order to gain more detail in these classes which are particularly pertinent in the Irish landscape.

CORINE 1990 - Baseline dataset

The first CORINE release - CLC1990 - was undertaken as a cross-border initiative by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland and the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland. The aim was to produce a land cover map for the entire island of Ireland. The land cover database was based on the interpretation of satellite images for 1989 and 1990, with land cover types in 44 standard classes. The map was created in GIS ARC/INFO format, at an original scale of 1:100,000, which was consistent and comparable with similar land cover databases in other European countries. 

Land Cover Change in Ireland 1990 - 2012

Thanks to the time-series of landcover data produced under the CORINE programme we can identify and track changes in the Irish landscape over the last two decades.


During the ten years from 1990 to 2000, artificial surfaces increased in area from 1.5% to 1.9% of total national land cover, caused by urban sprawl and developments in infrastructure and sports facilities.


The  six years between 2000 and 2006 experienced a 0.3% increase in artificial surfaces. A growth in forestry from 12% to 12.6% was witnessed during the same period.


From 2006 to 2012 the main landcover type change was afforestation (planting of forestry on previously un-forested land). This accounted for a 0.13% increase in the national area covered by forestry. Afforestation took place on agricultural and peatland areas, resulting in a 0.12% and 0.04% respective reduction in these landcover types nationally. In the same period the rate of increase in artificial areas reduced markedly down to just 0.04% of the national area. There was minimal new construction but there was significant completion of existing construction sites, in particular the completion of motorways (3,295 ha). Apart from these ‘cross-type’ changes, the change statistics were dominated by cyclical land management practises such as arable-pasture rotation (38.45% of total change) or clearfelling and re-planting of forestry (37.61% of total change). Whilst these changes are within their respective Level 1 landcover categories, they are still significant for applications such as greenhouse gas emissions analysis.

Learn more

Visit some other European Earth Observation websites:

The European Environment Agency (EEA)

The EIONET European Topic Centre on Land Use and Spatial Information (ETC-LUSI)

The European Space Agency (ESA)

Copernicus - The European Earth Observation Programme