Land Cover Database Completed
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Multi‑Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) recently announced the completion of the 2001 National Land Cover Database (NLCD). This database describes the land surface condition of each 30-meter cell of land in the continental United States. NLCD 2001 data portrays 16 classes of land cover, the percent of tree canopy, and the degree of surface imperviousness in urban areas.
The NLCD is based on satellite imagery taken in 2001 and was constructed by a collaborative effort of the MLRC. The information in the database enables land managers, planners, agricultural experts, and scientists to identify critical characteristics of the land for a wide variety of uses. "Just as the U.S. Census is fundamental in assessing patterns of national population growth, we also require an authoritative, periodic review of land conditions ‑ a Census of the Nation's Land Resources ‑ to understand how people and the land interact," said USGS Director Mark Myers.
You can download NLCD products from the MRLC website. USGS says they are working with software developers to create publicly available tools that can be used to conduct geospatial analyses of NLCD data on the web. Updated coverage of NLCD 2001 data for Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico is expected by December.