What is MapBiomas?

  • What is MapBiomas?
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    The MapBiomas project is an initiative of the Climate Observatory co-created and developed by a multi-institutional network involving universities, NGOs, and technology companies with the purpose of annually map Brazil's land use and land cover and monitor the changes in the territory.

  • Who does produce MapBiomas maps?
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    MapBiomas involves researchers and specialists in remote sensing, computer science, Brazilian biomes, and the main land uses of the country. The team works in its offices and laboratories spread throughout several Brazilian cities including Belém, Recife, Florianopolis, São Paulo, Brasília, Goiânia, Feira de Santana, and Porto Alegre. All work is done using cloud computing through the Google Earth Engine platform.

  • What is the difference between MapBiomas collections?
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    Seven collections of MapBiomas maps have been produced since the beginning of the project in July 2015.

    The collections represent changes in the coverage periods of the annual map, changes in the legend or corrections to the previous version.

    Seven collections of data were published:

    • Collection 1 - published in April 2016 with simplified legend, including 7 classes and covering the period 2008-2015

    • Collection 2 - published in April 2017, including 13 legend classes and covering the period 2000-2016

      • Collection 2.3, published in January 2018, with improvements from random forest application

    • Collection 3 - published in August 2018, including 19 legend classes and covering the period 1985-2017

      • Collection 3.1, published in April 2019, with improvements in classification

    • Collection 4 - published in August 2019, including 19 legend classes and covering the period 1985-2018
      • Collection 4.1, published in March 2020, with improvements in classification

    • Collection 5 - published in August 2020, including 21 legend classes and covering the period 1985-2019

    • Collection 6 - published in August 2021, including 25 legend classes and covering the period 1985-2020

    • Collection 7 - published in August 2022, including 27 legend classes and covering the period 1985-2021

    Each MapBiomas collection reprocesses the entire time series.

  • How do I download the MapBiomas maps?
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    The maps can be downloaded directly on the platform and through the link: http://brasil.mapbiomas.org/en/download?cama_set_language=en. Do not forget to download the legend ID’s as well: http://brasil.mapbiomas.org/en/codigos-de-legenda?cama_set_language=en. It is possible to download data directly from Google Earth Engine and fit your request to specific territories or temporal windows. In Google Earth Engine you can also access all Landsat Mosaics and transition maps. To get MapBiomas collections ID's in Google Earth Engine, go to: Tools.

  • Why do the downloaded files have multiple layers of data?
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    Each layer represents one year of the time series. For example, in Collection 2.3 the layer 0 = 2000 and the layer 17 = 2016. It is possible to download data directly from Google Earth Engine and fit your request to specific territories or temporal windows.

  • Why are maps presented in raster format only?
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    Land use and land cover maps made on the MapBiomas scale (30m pixel) and large time series are impractical in vector format. All data processing is performed in raster format, pixel by pixel.

  • Can I download the data in Shapefile format?
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    It is not possible in the MapBiomas platform. The vectorization of maps is extremely costly and impractical for the whole territory. The recommended solution, if you want to work with vector, is to download the data, perform the territorial or spatial clipping of your interest and then vectorize using your favorite software.

  • Are MapBiomas data public?
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    Yes, MapBiomas data is public and free for non-commercial use or general interest purposes.

  • Is it possible to work with MapBiomas data in the cloud without having to download them?
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    Yes, MapBiomas collections are available as assets on the Google Earth Engine platform and can be accessed, processed and analyzed directly on the platform without the need to download the data. Three main collections of data are available: > annual coverage and land use maps of Brazil between 1985 and 2021 > transition maps for selected periods between 1985 and 2021 > Landsat image mosaics for each year of the series between 1985 to 2021. To get MapBiomas collections IDs in Google Earth Engine, go to: Tools.

  • How do I cite MapBiomas data?
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    MapBiomas data is public and free of charge by merely referring to the source in the following format: "MapBiomas Project - Collection [version] of the Annual Land Use Land Cover Maps of Brazil, accessed on [date] through the link: [LINK]""MapBiomas Project - is a multi-institutional initiative to generate annual land use land cover maps based on automatic classification processes applied to satellite images. The complete project description can be found at http://brasil.mapbiomas.org"

  • How do I access MapBiomas data in Google Earth Engine?
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    You must have a Google Earth Engine (GEE) account, which can be registered through the following link: https://earthengine.google.com. By accessing the GEE Code Editor (https://code.earthengine.google.com), you can start scripts to view and process data. In the link below the MapBiomas platform, you can find examples of Scripts to access MapBiomas data in Google Earth Engine. Tools

  • Where do I find the detailed description of the legend?
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    The detailed description of the Project including the correlation with the IBGE, FAO, and IPCC classes are available for download at: Downloads.

  • Can I download tabular and statistical data of the land use land cover maps? Which territorial subsets?
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    Yes, land use land cover statistics, as well as transitional matrices for the whole country, biomes, states, and municipalities are available for download at: Statistics.

  • I’ve downloaded maps from a MapBiomas collection, how do I know the meaning of each legend code?
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    The file with the legend codes can be accessed at the following link: Legend Codes.

  • How to download maps from a state or municipality?
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    In the MapBiomas platform the maps are available ready to download with Biomas clipping. For states and municipalities subsets, it can be generated inside Google Earth Engine, by accessing the script available at the link below. You must select the state and municipality, years of interest and export it to your Google Drive folder.  Tools

  • How is the area of MapBiomas raster data calculated?
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    Landsat has an average resolution of 30m, so it is common to associate the area of ​​a pixel to 900 m². But, since the original MapBiomas data is created following the GEE standard representation (Lat/Long and WGS84), it does not use a native equal-area projection. Thus, the distance from the target to the Equator Line influences the pixel size. Therefore, in the continental scale of Brazil area calculation counting the pixels and multiplying by 900 m² should be avoided. In MapBiomas we apply two methods for area calculation.

    (i) When performed outside Google Earth Engine, we reproject MapBiomas data to the UTM system and calculate the metric value of the central pixel, located at the intersection between the 1: 250,000 (IBGE standard) chart and area of ​​interest. Next, we count all pixels within the area of ​​interest and multiply by the reference value, in m², as previously calculated. This method has been applied, for example, throughout all the statistics calculation in Collections 2 and 2.3.

    (ii) When the calculation is performed within Google Earth Engine we apply the function ee.Image.pixelArea() that generates an image in which the value of each pixel is the area of that pixel in square meters, taking into consideration eventual cartographic distortions. This method is being applied from Collection 3.

  • Why do the areas of the states and municipalities not precisely match the IBGE areas?
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    This difference occurs because the area calculation in MapBiomas is done by the sum of the areas of each pixel. The edge pixels are distributed between the border areas. In general, the difference in areas is less than 0.2%, and in cases of smaller municipalities, it can reach 0.5%.

  • Which maps were used as a reference for the mapping?
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    You can access the description of all reference maps used by MapBiomas in: Reference Maps.

  • How to know the statistics of several municipalities or several territorial subsets in a grouped manner?
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    Create an account at MapBiomas Platform through the link: http://mapbiomas.org/users/sign_in. When you log in, the MY MAPS option appears. You can create your map by adding different places. In this module, the statistics are all grouped for the customized map.