Spring 2011

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Planning

Mn/DOT Road Closures Site
Economic Data
Gypsy Moth Response

Proximity Finder

Red River LiDAR

Minneapolis Predictive Crime Mapping
Anoka Co. Recreation
GIS - Core Govt. Service

Land Cover 2006
USGS Historic Topo Scanning

Higher Education
Smart Growth & Transit

Will Craig, UCGIS Fellow
Robert McMaster, UCGIS Education Award
Marv Bauer, Pecora Award


National Land Cover Database 2006 Released
Adapted from USGS Press Release

The latest edition of the National Land Cover Database (NLCD 2006) is now publicly available for viewing or download.  This massive database updates our knowledge of the Nation’s land cover and documents precisely where land cover change has occurred between 2001 and 2006.  NLCD is used for thousands of applications in such diverse investigations as ecosystem status and health, spatial patterns of biodiversity, indications of climate change, and best practices in land management.

Based on Landsat satellite imagery taken in 2006, the broad, yet meticulous database was constructed in a five-year collaborative effort by the 11-member federal interagency Multi Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC).

The carefully calibrated data describes the land surface condition of each 30-meter cell of land in the conterminous United States and identifies which ones have changed since the year 2001.  Nearly six such cells – each 98 feet long and wide – would fit on a football field. This release of NLCD marks the first time land cover change has been captured for the Nation in such a detailed way, requiring several years of new methodological research to accomplish this goal. A formal accuracy assessment of the NLCD 2006 land cover change product is planned for 2011.

Land cover is broadly defined as the biophysical pattern of natural vegetation, agriculture, and urban areas. It is shaped by both natural processes and human influences.  NLCD 2006 data uses the same land cover classes as were used in 2001 in the lower 48 states and also portrays the degree of surface imperviousness in urban areas. The density of non-transpiring, impervious surfaces – usually composed of concrete, asphalt, stone, and metal – is widely recognized as a key indicator of environmental quality in urban areas.

For more information, see the:

Editor’s Note:  For other land cover data for Minnesota, see MnGeo’s first-stop land use / land cover information page.