Continuous Monitoring of Land Surface Change Over 30 Years Using the Landsat Record

Release Date:

The USGS Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection project has released a new suite of land-cover change products for the conterminous U.S.

LCMAP now offers a suite of 10 annual science products that depict land-cover and land-surface change from 1985 to 2017. The products are derived from the U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD). Landsat ARD are produced from data acquired by the Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager and Thermal Infrared Sensor (OLI/TIRS) instruments.

The Landsat instruments represent a 30+ year data record. Time-series models applied to the Landsat ARD indicate when a land-surface change occurred and are used to produce the suite of land-cover and land-surface change products. Product uncertainties are established by statistically sampling a large number of reference plots across the U.S.

LCMAP will serve the geospatial communities’ need for an improved understanding of land-surface change, the basic drivers of change, insight into the impacts of land management and feedbacks in human and natural systems. The product suite spans a large geographic extent, over a longer time period, at higher spatial resolution and provides more systematic and consistent information than ever before. LCMAP will provide assessments of the drivers, characteristics and consequences of land change. In the future, LCMAP will provide annual updates, a near-real-time monitoring capability, and modeling of future land surface under a range of climate- and economic scenarios.

About the LCMAP

The products developed by the Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) science initiative are implemented at the Earth Resources Observation and Science center.  EROS gathers, formats and saves the remotely sensed Landsat data archive to provide state-of-the-art land-surface change information needed by scientists, resource managers and decision makers. LCMAP uses a modernized, integrated approach to map, monitor, synthesize and understand the complexities of land use, cover and condition of land surface across the U.S. for a variety of science applications.

You can find more information regarding the LCMAP approach, descriptions of the science products and their characteristics, and other relevant information here: https://www.usgs.gov/land-resources/eros/lcmap.

Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection (LCMAP) grapic

LCMAP produces land-cover change information for every location in the U.S. from 1985 to 2017 based on the spectral and temporal properties of the land surface. U.S. Landsat Analysis Ready Data spanning those years, coupled with time-series models, are the basis for five annual spectral change products and five annual land-cover products.  (Public domain.)