MODIS Land Cover - Product MCD12Q1

The MODIS Land Cover Type product is a global land cover classification data layer produced annually from 2001 through 2013 (as of this writing).  For each year there are five land cover schemes, developed by different research groups.  Data are distributed by the USGS at 500m resolution in standard MODIS grid tiles.  These tiles use the sinusoidal projection and  cover approximately 1200 x 1200 km (~10° x 10° at the equator).  The following USGS site has detailed meta data and download access:

The MODIS Terra + Aqua Land Cover Type Yearly L3 Global 500 m SIN Grid product incorporates the following five different land cover classification schemes, each derived through a supervised decision-tree classification method:
    Land Cover Type 1: IGBP global vegetation classification scheme
    Land Cover Type 2: University of Maryland (UMD) scheme
    Land Cover Type 3: MODIS-derived LAI/fPAR scheme
    Land Cover Type 4: MODIS-derived Net Primary Production (NPP) scheme
    Land Cover Type 5: Plant Functional Type (PFT) scheme

The five research groups developed their own classification schemes to categorize land cover properties using one year of Terra and Aqua MODIS data.  The International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) Type 1 land cover scheme identifies 17 land cover classes (0 – 16) which includes 11 natural vegetation classes, 3 developed and mosaicked land classes, and three non-vegetated land classes.  Information about all of the data layers, including Quality Control are shown below.  Also the categories and class codes for the five classification schemes are listed.

Basic File  Information

Classification Schemes 1 - 4

Classification Scheme 5

Friedl, M. A., Sulla-Menashe, D., Tan, B., Schneider, A., Ramankutty, N., Sibley, A., andHuang, X. (2010). MODIS Collection 5 global land cover: Algorithm refinements and characterization of new datasets. Remote Sensing of Environment, 114, 168–182.