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INSPIRE Community Forum

The EAGLE concept

In the land cover data specification (LC DS), there is not an obligation to use a single uniform nomenclature for Europe. Data providers fulfill INSPIRE compliance as long as they give the necessary metadata information of the spatial data together with the documentation of the nomenclature they are using. As a non-mandatory action, the LC DS encourages data providers to use mechanisms with which their own nomenclature can be compared with other nomenclatures and their differences can be understood. The ISO TC 211 standard 19144-2 Land Cover Meta Language (LCML) is an example of such a mechanism (Annex G of LC data specifications). As a commonly usable and simplified option, the LC DS suggest to use the Pure Land Cover Components (PLCC), which have been developed by the Thematic Working Group (TWG) LC.

In close relation with the INSPIRE process, the EIONET Action Group on Land monitoring in Europe (EAGLE), a self-initiated and politically independent group of land monitoring experts from several European countries, is working on the development of the EAGLE concept. This concept follows the principle of a descriptive characterization of landscape rather than a classification according to class definition. The concept therefore works with an object-oriented data model. A main criterion is the strict separation between land cover and land use information (as also implemented with the two TWG for LC and LU).

The EAGLE concept:

1) does not represent another classification system but instead a descriptive vehicle for harmonisation of LC/LU information supporting both top-down and bottom-up approaches,

2) aims at being a tool for analytic decomposition of class definitions and for semantic translation between nomenclatures,

3) is open to be implemented as an object-oriented guideline for mapping and monitoring initiatives,

4) offers a conceptual basis for a future harmonised European land monitoring system that allows better semantic harmonisation between national and regional land cover mapping activities and supports the integration of national monitoring initiatives at pan-European level.

The EAGLE data model is developed in an INSPIRE-compliant manner. It fits into the application schema of DS LC, can match to the PLCC and has integrated the HILUCS classes as Land Use Attributes. As an outcome of the group´s work, some suggestions to enhance the INSPIRE DS on LU and LC can be opened for discussion within the thematic cluster LC/LU and the implementation process of INSPIRE.

Compared to the LCML ISO standard, the EAGLE concept is similar in structure, but is more adapted to European requirements and user needs.

Since recently, the continuation of work is supported through funding by the European Environment Agency.


The work of the EAGLE can be followed on the web page:

This discussion topic aim to discuss the EAGLE concept, to follow its evolution and to demonstrate how it can support the implementation of the INSPIRE.


  • Stephan ARNOLD

    By Stephan ARNOLD

    Thank you Lena for integrating our EAGLE text here. The EAGLE group is currently working on a documentation of the EAGLE concept and an elaborated UML data model with, including fine-tuning issues that have come up since the first version of the model on EAGLE website. The documentation will be available from early 2015 on.


  • Stephan ARNOLD

    By Stephan ARNOLD

    Dear experts and interested data users/producers!

    The documentation of the EAGLE concept as well as the new release of the EAGLE Matrix and UML model chart is now available on the EAGLE Website:

    Please feel free to have a look at it. Details about the concept you can find in the entry above, or of course on the EAGLE Website.

  • Lena Hallin-Pihlatie

    By Lena Hallin-Pihlatie

    Thanks Stephan for sharing this information with us.

    Please note that Stephan also has started a discussion topic in the Land Use sub-group to collect feedback on the HILUCS code list, based on concrete suggestions from the EAGLE team . To check it out and to participate in the discussions please follow this link: HILUCS code list. Gathered feedback and comments will be discussed at the Inspire Land Cover and Land Use workshop at the GWF/Inspire conference

    PS. Please join the LU sub-group to get notified about the HILUCS discussions and to be able to post comments.



Land Cover & Use

Land Cover & Use

Join this group to share your knowledge, learn and collaborate in solving issues related to the Land Cover and Land Use themes