GIS Data Services Home

Find GIS Data
Data Collections & Sources
Keyword Search
Keyword List
NC Counties & Cities
Historic Data

Library Data Services
GIS Data Services
Numeric Data Services
Contact Us

Learn About GIS
Overview of GIS
Virtual Campus Courses
GIS at NCSU


Can't find data you're looking for? Contact a Data Services Librarian for help.

Land Use/Land Cover Data

Overview

Land Use/Land Cover Example

Land Use/Land Cover data refers to data that is a result of classifying raw satellite data into "land use and land cover" (lulc) categories based on the return value of the satellite image. There are not very many lulc datasets because a)satellite data acquisition is usually very expensive, and b)the classification process is very labor intensive. Most lulc data products are released several years after the satellite images were taken, and thus out of date to a certain extent when they are released. Nonetheless, lulc provides a very valuable method for determining the extents of various land uses and cover types, such as urban, forested, shrubland, agriculture, etc.

Land use/land cover data are most commonly in a raster or grid data structure, with each cell having a value that corresponds to a certain classification. This structure allows for creating summary tables and performing suitability analyses. Sometimes lulc data is converted to a vector format, but file sizes become very large by doing so.

The term "land use/land cover" (lulc) is a general term, while an early USGS project, which is discussed below, uses the name "Land Use and Land Cover" (LULC).



Summary Table of Land Use/Land Cover Collections

The table below summarizes various available lulc collections.


Collection Name and LinksUsage Notes
National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD)

See the Libraries' NLCD webpage for full details and access instructions. Also see GIS Lookup Detailed Data Record.

Currently (as of 2011), the NLCD is the most current and detailed land cover data for North Carolina, as well as much of the US.

  • 30m resolution
  • Nationwide availability from The National Map (USGS)
  • 1992, 2001, 2006 imagery dates
  • 21 land cover classes
  • Also available: forest canopy and impervious surface extracts; 1992-2001 Change Analysis
US Coastal Land Cover Data

NOAA's Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) has produced and released Land Cover, Forest Fragmentation Land Cover, and Land Cover Change data for the coastal portions of the United States approximately every five years since the early 90's.

Overview
Download

  • 30m resolution
  • 29 LC categories, with more detailed up-to-date wetlands than currently available in other national products
  • 1992, 1996, 2001, and 2005 (vary by location)
  • 21 land cover classes
  • Formats: IMG, GeoTIFF, GoogleEarth KMZ (can be converted to GRID)
  • 85% overall target accuracy
  • More Details
Gap Analysis Program (GAP) Land Cover Data

Numerous land cover datasets are available from the nationwide effort to asses wildlife habitat

Southeast Region Data, including NC

North Carolina Statewide Land Use/Land Cover (1996)

See the Libraries' Detailed Data Record in GIS Lookup.

  • 30m resolution
  • An unfiltered version of the '96 data exists - see the Data Record.
  • Vectorized versions of the '96 data are in BasinPro 8
Neuse River Basin Land cover/Land use

See the Libraries' Neuse River Basin land cover/land use webpage for full details and access instructions.

  • 15 meter cell resolution
  • 1998-1999 source imagery
Land Use / Land Cover - TM (APES 1987)

Metadata | FTP Download (NCSU Only). Contact Data Services for more details.

  • 30m resolution
  • Created for the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine Study (APES)
  • Only covers approx. the eastern 1/3 of NC.
USGS Land Use and Land Cover

See the USGS Land Use and Land Cover Data Guide for more information (including classification scheme) and downloads.

NC LULC in 1:250K quad tiles:
Metadata | FTP Download (NCSU Only).

  • Historical data based on manual interpretation of 1970's and 1980's aerial photos and secondary sources.
  • The "raw" LULC data is available by FTP from the USGS. The data are available in Geographic Information Retrieval and Analysis System (GIRAS) and Composite Theme Grid (CTG) formats. At one time, the EPA provided the data in ArcInfo e00 format, but the location of these files is unknown.


Go to the GIS Data List Page