Fractional cover - MODIS, CSIRO Land and Water algorithm, Australia coverageAustralia

Alternate title: MODIS NBAR-derived 16-days fractional cover of Photosynthetic Vegetation (PV), Non-Photosynthetic Vegetation (NPV) and Bare Soil (BS)

Data are MODIS NBAR-derived 16-days fractional cover of Photosynthetic Vegetation (PV), Non-Photosynthetic Vegetation (NPV) and Bare Soil (BS). Fractional cover represents the exposed proportion of PV, NPV or BS within each pixel. In forested canopies the photosynthetic or non-photosynthetic portions of trees may obscure those of the grass layer and/or bare soil.

Product version history

Data produced using the method and the data as described in Guerschman et al. (2009). It uses MOD43A4 collection 4, with a 1km spatial resolution.
Created using the MCD43A4 collection 5 data, applying the same algorithm as version 1. The main improvements as compared to Version 1 are in the spatial resolution (500m instead of 1000m) and the phased production strategy (16-days composites produced every 8 days).
2.1 (June 2012)
Differs to Version 2 in:
  • Fractional cover values for areas where unmixing was constrained (FLAG=2) were set to 254 (0 in V2.0). This avoids the possibility that the user will use the value of 0 when the fractional cover should be ignored altogether.
  • Algorithm only applied to pixels over Australian Land (ocean and PNG ignored and set to 255).
2.2 (Nov 2011)
Differs to Version 2.1 in:
  • Location of endmembers was redefined following a validation exercise reported in Guerschman et al. (in press).
  • The main effect of that change was an overall decrease in the fractions of bare soil (BS) and an increase in the fractions of non-photosynthetic vegetation (NPV). The estimates of photosynthetic vegetation (PV) had very low changes.
  • The changes in the endmember locations decreased the RMSE of the three cover fractions from 17% to 14.7% (PV), 25% to 20.6% (NPV) and from 26% to 17% (BS).
  • The reader is referred to Guerschman et al. (in press) for more details on these changes.


AusCover metadata record
Metadata record (External link)
Documentation - v2.1
Overview of the data set
README file (Text)
Dataset reference
Juan Pablo Guerschman, Michael J. Hill, Luigi J. Renzullo, Damian J. Barrett, Alan S. Marks, Elizabeth J. Botha (2009). Estimating fractional cover of photosynthetic vegetation, non-photosynthetic vegetation and bare soil in the Australian tropical savanna region upscaling the EO-1 Hyperion and MODIS sensors Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 113, Issue 5, pp. 928-945 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2009.01.006
NetCDF format
NetCDF format README file (Text)
Documentation - v2.2
Dataset reference
Guerschman, JP, Oyarzabal, M, Malthus, TJ, McVicar, TM, Byrne, G, Randall, LA and Stewart, JB (2012), Validation of the MODIS-based vegetation fractional cover product, CSIRO Land and Water Science Report, Canberra, April 2012, available at http://www.clw.csiro.au/publications/science/2012/SAF-MODIS-fractional-cover.pdf (PDF, 3.4MB).

Accessing the Data

Perl script for bulk data downloads
guerschmanTDS_get.pl, v1.0 (requires wget)
THREDDS Data Server
Direct access (HTTP)

Related products

Source MODIS NBAR product (MCD43A4.005)
MODIS Fractional Cover Metrics
Australian Ground Cover Reference Sites Database
More information about the Ground cover monitoring for Australia project

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