National Land Cover Database (NLCD)

The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) provides nation-wide data on land cover and land cover change at the Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) 30-meter resolution. NLCD provides spatial reference and descriptive data for characteristics of the land surface such as thematic class (e.g., urban, agriculture, and forest), percent impervious surface, and percent tree canopy cover. The database is designed to provide five-year cyclical updates of U.S. land cover and land cover change. NLCD 2011 is the most recent database release and represents a decade of consistently produced land cover and impervious surface across the Nation for three periods: 2001, 2006 and 2011. NLCD 2016 is under current research and development and will include improved base accuracy, improved change identification, and new fractional land cover products for shrub, grass and bare areas.

NLCD products are designed for a wide variety of Federal, State, local, and nongovernmental applications that seek to assess ecosystem status and health, understand the spatial patterns of biodiversity, predict effects of climate change, and develop land management policy. NLCD products are produced by the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium, a partnership of Federal agencies led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Project Lead: Collin Homer,, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center

Additional Information: Project Website