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Fact Sheet 2012–3020

The National Land Cover Database

By Collin H. Homer, Joyce A. Fry, and Christopher A. Barnes

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.66 MB)Abstract

The National Land Cover Database (NLCD) serves as the definitive Landsat-based, 30-meter resolution, land cover database for the Nation. NLCD provides spatial reference and descriptive data for characteristics of the land surface such as thematic class (for example, urban, agriculture, and forest), percent impervious surface, and percent tree canopy cover. NLCD supports 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 created by the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium, a partnership of Federal agencies led by the U.S. Geological Survey. All NLCD data products are available for download at no charge to the public from the MRLC Web site:

First posted February 23, 2012

Suggested citation:

Homer, C.H., Fry, J.A., and Barnes C.A., 2012, The National Land Cover Database, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012-3020, 4 p.


NLCD Products

NLCD 2001–2006 Land Cover Change

Land Cover Accuracy Assessment

Land Cover Applications

Future Directions

Selected References

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