The Norwegian area frame survey of land cover and outfield land resources
There is a growing demand for reliable information about land cover and land resources. The Norwegian area frame survey of land cover and outfield land resources (AR18X18) is a response to this demand. AR18X18 provides unbiased land cover and land resource statistics and constitutes a baseline for studying changes in outfield land resources in Norway and a framework for a national land resource accounting system for the outfields. The area frame survey uses a systematic sampling technique with 0.9 km2 sample plots at 18 km intervals. A complete wall-to-wall land cover map of an entire plot surveyed is obtained in situ by a team of fieldworkers equipped with aerial photographs. The use of sample plots with extended coverage (0.9 km2) ensures that the survey also deals with local variation, thus strengthening the estimates well beyond simple point sampling. The article documents the methodology used in the survey, followed by a discussion of issues raised by the choice of methodology. These issues include the problem of calculating uncertainty and a confidence interval for the estimates, the focus on common rather than rare land cover categories, and the prospect of downscaling the results in order to obtain statistics for subnational regions.
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