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Click the "Science" links below to see how we track change over time.

Land Cover Animation of Palm Springs, CA area
Land cover animation of growth in the Palm Springs, CA area. 

Every pixel tells a story.

That’s because a Landsat pixel is more than a speck of satellite data. It’s a piece of ground on planet Earth. Ground that changes with the seasons, through the years, through assault by rapid disaster or the slow churn of natural cycles. Cities grow. Forests burn, then return. Lakes and rivers swell and shift.

The work of the USGS Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) initiative takes place with this understanding top of mind. Its datasets use Landsat information to follow the land cover and change story of every pixel in the conterminous United States, year by year, from 1985 on.

In doing so, LCMAP data products open the door to a deeper understanding of our nation. Its deep time series approach also offers guidance to satellite-based land cover science, helping the research community to improve land cover mapping for the entire planet.

LCMAP Change Stories are designed to offer a small window into the wealth of possible inquiry made possible by the initiative’s approach to land cover mapping.

Follow the “Science” links below to explore these stories. You’ll see the impact of hurricanes and tornadoes, urban sprawl and industrial expansion, landslides and erosion, and much more. Check back for more stories as the months pass, and be sure to follow USGS EROS on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for news and updates.