Home Archived December 11, 2018

The USGS Land Cover Institute (LCI)


USGS releases 1973–2000 time-series of land-use/land-cover for the conterminous U.S.

Access the publication and data.

USGS LCI Hosts NewGlobal Land Cover Data

Researchers from the University of Arizona recently created MODIS based global land cover datasets. The USGS LCI is hosting these datasets on their behalf to make them more available to the wider research community.

Access the 0.5 km MODIS-based Global Land Cover Climatology

Access the 1 km MODIS-based Maximum Green Vegetation Fraction

NLCD 2011 Now Available

Just released, the latest edition of the nation's most comprehensive look at land-surface conditions from coast to coast shows the extent of land cover types from forests to urban areas.


News Archive 2013

Accuracy assessment of NLCD 2006 land cover and impervious surface

Accuracy assessment of NLCD 2006 focused on four primary products: 2001 land cover, 2006 land cover, land-cover change between 2001 and 2006, and impervious surface change between 2001 and 2006.

Access the publication.

News Archive 2012

Status and trends of land change in the Western United States-1973 to 2000: Volume A in Status and trends of land change in the United States-1973 to 2000

This new publication is the first in a four-volume series on the status and trends of the Nation’s land use and land cover, providing an assessment of the rates and causes of land-use and land-cover change in the Western United States between 1973 and 2000.

Access the publication.

New Global Land Survey Visualization Interface Now Available

The USGS EROS Science Processing Architecture (ESPA) Global Land Survey (GLS) Visualization Interface is now available. The new interface allows users to immediately download GLS 2010 and GLS 2005 Surface Reflectance Products. GLS 2000 surface reflectance products will soon be available also.

Access the GLS Visualization Interface.

USGS Rolls Out New LandsatLook Viewer

In honor of this, the 40th Anniversary of the Landsat 1 launch, and in preparation for Landsat 8 in February 2013, the USGS has rolled out a prototype viewer that allows easy access to the over 3 million scenes in the Landsat archive.

Access the LandsatLook Viewer.

"My American Landscape" contest winners will be announced at Landsat news conference

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. EDT, Monday, July 23, to highlight the accomplishments of the world's longest-running Earth-observing satellite program - Landsat.


Dry Conditions to persist throughout the Nation

Almost 80 percent of the contiguous United States is facing abnormally dry conditions right now. In fact, much of the lower half of the country is facing at least severe to extreme drought.


USGS Launches Climate and Land Use Change Research and Development Web Site

The USGS Climate and Land Use Change Research and Development (R&D) Program supports fundamental multi-disciplinary research needed to address complex issues associated with climate and land use change.

Access the web site.

Mangrove Forests of the World Dataset Now Available!

The database was prepared using Landsat satellite data of the year 2000 and is the first most comprehensive mangrove assessment of the world.

Access the data.

National Land Cover Fact Sheet Now Available!

The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) serves as the definitive Landsat-based, 30-meter resolution, land cover database for the Nation.

Access the National Land Cover Database fact sheet.

Interior Releases First-of-its-Kind Regional Study as Part of National Assessment of Carbon Storage in U.S. Ecosystems

The Department of the Interior today released the first in a series of regional studies measuring the amount of carbon stored in U.S. ecosystems.

Access the report from the USGS publications warehouse.

News Archive 2011

Revised NLCD Web page Released

Visit the improved National Land Cover Database (NLCD) website to download any of the NLCD land cover suite of products.

Land Cover Change Research at the U.S. Geological Survey—Assessing Our Nation's Dynamic Land Surface

The USGS recently completed an unprecedented, 27-year assessment of land-use and land-cover change for the conterminous United States.

Access the land cover change research fast-sheet.

Land Cover Change Regional Synthesis Report for the U.S. Great Plains Now Available!

The USGS Land Cover Trends Project is focused on understanding the rates, trends, causes, and consequences of contemporary U.S. land use and land cover change. This synthesis report is the second of four reports that has been released to-date.

Access the Great Plains Regional Synthesis Report.

National Atlas Land Cover Wall Map Now Available

This land cover wall map shows the physical materials at the surface of the United States. The land cover data displayed is from the National Land Cover Database 2001.

Access the National Atlas web site to view and order a copy.

NLCD 2006 Now Available

The U.S. Geological Survey, on behalf of the inter-agency Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium, has completed the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2006 for the conterminous United States. NLCD 2006 represents the first database produced in a five year cycle, and the first land cover change product ever produced for the nation at 30 meter spatial resolution.

Access the MRLC Web site.

Web-enabled Landsat Data (WELD) is now available!

The Web-enabled Landsat Data (WELD) project is collaboration between the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center and academic partner South Dakota State University Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence (GIScCE). The WELD products are available via anonymous FTP in tiled HDF format and in GeoTIFF format for any user defined area via an interactive internet interface.

Access the WELD web site.

News Archive 2010

Just released, 2005 North America Land Cover at 250 m spatial resolution

This product is based on observations acquired by the MOderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The classification legend is designed in three hierarchical levels using the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) Land Classification System. Level I and II are common for North America while level III is country specific.

Access the North American Land Cover data.

USGS Office of Global Change Climate Change Conference

This conference will highlight USGS scientific research that advances our understanding of climate change and its impacts on our Nation’s resources.

The deadline for abstracts submission has expired, however the conference agenda maybe viewed at the USGS Climate Change Conference website.

News Archive 2009

New Terrestrial Ecosystem Map of the Conterminous U.S.

A new map of standardized terrestrial ecosystems for the conterminous U.S. has been produced.

Access the USGS Newsroom for further information and to visit the online, interactive version of the map.

New GLCN portal is launched

The Global Land Cover Network team is pleased to announce the launch of the new GLCN portal. This website, together with AFRICOVER, represents a source of essential materials, insights, and expertise on land cover-related topics.

NLCD 2001

The U.S. Geological Survey, on behalf of the inter-agency Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC), has completed the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2001 products for the conterminous United States, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.

Access these products for download from the MLRC website.

News Archive 2008

PECORA 17 - The Future of Land Imaging... Going Operational

16th - 20th November 2008, Denver Colorado

The conference will offer a program on applications of satellite and other remotely sensed data to study, monitor, and manage the Earth's land surface, as well as technologies to improve satellite data analyses, quality, access and preservation.

Access the conference website.

3rd GOFC-GOLD Land Cover Symposium Presentations Available

With permission of the speakers GOFC-GOLD provides the presentations from the 3rd GOFC-GOLD symposium which took place on 13-17 October 2008, at Jena University, Germany

Access these presentations.


The USGS has released a technical announcement, outlining the plan for the release of no-charge Landsat data. Over the next 9 months, we will be opening up the Landsat archive for no-charge ordering.

Access the announcement for more details.

Access the Landsat website for other related information.

New Portrait of Earth Shows Land Cover As Never Before!

The European Space Agency (ESA) in partnership with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization has presented a preliminary version of a 300m GlobCover product.

Access the ESA website for more information.

PECORA The Future of Land Imaging... Going Operational, November 18 - 20 2008 Denver, Colorado

Call for abstracts . We cordially invite land remote sensing data users, researchers, applications scientists, producers, manag­ers, and policy-makers to participate in this important conference by submitting an abstract for a paper, poster, or technology demonstration.

Abstracts due April 11 2008!

Access the Pecora17 website.


This National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Research Announcement (NRA), entitled Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) – 2008, solicits basic and applied research in support of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD).

Solicitation closes 28th March 2008.

Access the website for more information.

Land Remote Sensing Symposium 11th - 12th March 2008

The 4th Annual Land Remote Sensing Science Symposium titled "Meeting Tomorrows Challenges Today", will showcase all of the research activities within the USGS Land Remote Sensing Program and highlight current and potential remote sensing science and activities in both commercial and classified arenas.

Access the website.

Access the agenda.

Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA)

In support of the International Polar Year (IPY 2007 -2008), LIMA brings the coldest continent on Earth alive in greater detail than ever before through this virtually cloudless, seamless, and high resolution satellite view of Antarctica.

Access the LIMA website.

U.S. Land Cover State Descriptions Now Available!

The LCI would like to announce the availability of the State Land Cover Descriptions, which are assessable through the LCI website.

An interactive map of the conterminous United States provides access to simple State facts and land cover descriptions. Each State includes maps of land cover, percent forest canopy, and percent impervious surface, all derived from the National Land Cover Database 2001 (NLCD, 2001).

These State descriptions have been compiled to provide a general overview for scientific researchers, policy makers, and educators to gain a basic understanding of a State’s land cover and land use characteristics.

A printer friendly version option for each State is currently under construction and will be available soon!

Access the State Land Cover Descriptions.

News Archive 2007

Rapid Land Cover Mapper Tool Now Available!

Mapping land use and land cover (LULC) over large areas and through time has always presented major challenges. The International Program project at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, South Dakota have developed a mapping tool called the Rapid Land Cover Mapper (RLCM) that addresses the challenges in mapping LULC.

Access the website and download the RLCM tool.

2007 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

MARK YOUR CALENDAR TODAY to attend the 2007 AGU Fall Meeting! The Fall Meeting is expected to draw a crowd of over 15,000 geophysicists from around the world. The Fall Meeting provides an opportunity for researchers, teachers, students, and consultants to present and review the latest issues affecting the Earth, the planets, and their environments in space. This meeting will cover topics in all areas of Earth and space sciences.

Abstract submission deadline is 6th September 2007, 23:59UT

Access the AGU Fall Meeting website.

American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (ASPRS) and the Canadian Remote Sensing Society (CRSS) 2007 Specialty Conference

ASPRS and CRSS are organizing an exciting conference around the theme of Our Common Borders - Safety, Security and the Environment through Remote Sensing. This conference will showcase mapping, imaging techniques and associated remote sensing projects in both countries that are promoting and enhancing cross-border geospatial cooperation, particularly in the areas of: U.S. and Canadian contributions to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), cross-border environmental and spatial data infrastructure work, homeland security, and the International Joint Commission.

Access the conference website.

2007 International Workshop on Spatial and Spatio-Temporal Data Mining

The IEEE International Conference on Data Mining series (ICDM) covers all aspects of data mining, including algorithms, software and systems, and applications. In addition, ICDM draws researchers and application developers from a wide range of data mining related areas such as statistics, machine learning, pattern recognition, databases and data warehousing, data visualization, knowledge-based systems, and high performance computing.

Access the conference website.

GU/LUCC Central Europe Conference 2007: Man in the Landscape Across Frontiers: Landscape and land use change in Central European border regions

28 August - 4 September 2007

This conference will visit four Central European countries. Starting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, continuing through Austria and Slovakia to Czechia, and finishing in Vienna, Austria. Throughout the eight days, you will visit various regions with designated case-study sites, which are interesting for their cultural or semi-natural landscapes. In the field, we will discuss many topics connected with the past, present and future of landscapes of Europe. Three half-day seminars will be held focusing on presentations of papers and posters – in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in Bratislava, Slovakia, and in Mikulov, Czechia.

Access the conference website.

National Land Cover Data 2001 Now Available!

The U.S. Geological Survey, on behalf of the interagency Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC), is pleased to announce the availability of National Land Cover Data (NLCD) 2001 products for the conterminous United States. These products are web enabled for download from the MRLC website. NLCD 2001 products include 21 classes of land cover, percent tree canopy and percent urban imperviousness at 30 m resolution derived from Landsat imagery.

Climate Change and Sustainable Development - in Less Developed Countries, 7th May 2007 - 8th May 2007

The Global Land Project are pleased to announce that the University of Copenhagen's (UC) 'Rio-initiative', and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) are jointly organizing a conference titled 'Climate Change and Sustainable Development - in Less Developed Countries'. The conference will seek to understand the roles and positions of LDCs, and the threats and challenges they face, in relation to climate change and the factors driving it.

Access the conference website.

LANDFIRE Project Data Available for the Western United States!

The LANDFIRE project, in conjunction with many federal agencies is producing geospatial data products that describe existing vegetation composition and structure, potential vegetation, surface and canopy fuel characteristics, historical fire regimes, and fire regime condition class for the United States. The predominantly western portion of the United States is now complete and the data are available for download through the National Map dynamic on-line map interface.

Access the LANDFIRE data.

2nd National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration - April 22 - 27, 2007

This conference is intended for everyone, from the individual landowner to the largest hydrological unit consortium such as those representing the Missouri River basin or the Great Lakes region. The conference should also appeal to city, state and county governments, and private companies, consultants and non-government groups.

The call for poster abstract deadline has been extended to the 15th January 2007

Visit the conference website.
Click here to register.

ASPRS Moderate Resolution Imaging Survey Results

The goals of the survey were to 1)estimate the societal benefits of US moderate resolution data 2) better understand current operational and research uses of moderate resolution data and 3)identify user requirements in moderate resolution technology and data policy.

Access the survey results [PDF]

Access The Future of Land Imaging web site

International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment - June 25th - 29th 2007

The overall theme is the use of Earth observation systems in monitoring, understanding, and managing the environment with particular emphasis on achieving sustainable development. The symposium will include oral and poster sessions on vital issues of interest to research and educational institutions, government agencies, commercial entities, as well as resource managers, decision-makers in public and private sectors and scientists involved in remote sensing research and applications.

Register for the conference

Submit an Abstract (Deadline - 11/15/2006)

News Archive 2006

North American Land Cover Summit - September 20 - 22, 2006

The objective of the North America Land Cover Summit is to pursue collaboration among institutions and government agencies across the continent, advancing the development and application of comprehensive land cover information. Summit participants will assess critical issues for improving land cover applications, identify institutional needs and gaps in technical capabilities, review innovative uses of land cover information, and recognize opportunities for interagency and international collaboration.

Access the current agenda.

Register for the conference.

Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Land Cover Data Now Available!

The Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project (SWReGAP) was initiated in 1999 as a multi-institutional cooperative effort to map and assess biodiversity for a five-state region (AZ, CO, NV, NM, UT) comprising approximately 560,000 square miles in the southwestern U.S. Through coordination from the U.S. Geological Survey's Gap Analysis Program (GAP) and the collaborative efforts of participating state institutions, a seamless land cover product was completed in September 2004. These data and related datasets are made available to the public with 'provisional' status by the SWReGAP consortium of institutions responsible for their development.

Click here to access the website and download data.

Status and Trends of Eastern United States Land Cover

As part of a national assessment of U.S. land change, the USGS recently completed an analysis of 20 Eastern U.S. ecoregions. The total overall amount of Eastern U.S. land change between 1973 and 2000 was 12.5 percent.

Click here to read the complete analysis for all 20 ecoregions.

USGS establishes a Land Cover Institute

Recognizing the large and growing need for land cover data and information, the USGS has established a Land Cover Institute (LCI). It provides a focal point for coordinating and communicating USGS land cover studies and applications. As it matures, the LCI will include information about land cover data, archives, and activities nationally and worldwide. The Institute will provide a forum for advancing strategic land cover goals, with web-accessible capability for recording program and project updates and links to information sources. In a recent interview, the Institute's Acting Director, Nick Van Driel, said "The Land Cover Institute is a logical extension of the pioneering land cover research and mapping done by the USGS scientists over the last twenty years - we want to help people find and use land cover data" Dr Tom Loveland, research geographer for the USGS who has been engaged in research on the use of remote sensing for land use and land cover investigations for over 25 years also commented, "The establishment of the USGS Land Cover Institute continues the long-standing USGS commitment to land cover excellence that was first made by Dr. James Anderson in the early 1970's. The Land Cover Institute will contribute to the growing need to understand the characteristics and consequences of our changing planet by focusing on key land cover data, applications, and science issues".