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Developing consistent Landsat data sets for large area applications: the MRLC 2001 protocol

January 1, 2009

One of the major efforts in large area land cover mapping over the last two decades was the completion of two U.S. National Land Cover Data sets (NLCD), developed with nominal 1992 and 2001 Landsat imagery under the auspices of the MultiResolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium. Following the successful generation of NLCD 1992, a second generation MRLC initiative was launched with two primary goals: (1) to develop a consistent Landsat imagery data set for the U.S. and (2) to develop a second generation National Land Cover Database (NLCD 2001). One of the key enhancements was the formulation of an image preprocessing protocol and implementation of a consistent image processing method. The core data set of the NLCD 2001 database consists of Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) images. This letter details the procedures for processing the original ETM+ images and more recent scenes added to the database. NLCD 2001 products include Anderson Level II land cover classes, percent tree canopy, and percent urban imperviousness at 30-m resolution derived from Landsat imagery. The products are freely available for download to the general public from the MRLC Consortium Web site at

Citation Information

Publication Year 2009
Title Developing consistent Landsat data sets for large area applications: the MRLC 2001 protocol
DOI 10.1109/LGRS.2009.2025244
Authors G. Chander, Chengquan Huang, Limin Yang, Collin G. Homer, C. Larson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters
Series Number
Index ID 70037453
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center

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