Coastal Change Analysis Program High-Resolution Land Cover

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The Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) produces a nationally standardized database of land cover information (developed using remotely sensed imagery) for the coastal regions of the U.S. C-CAP products provide inventories of coastal intertidal areas, wetlands, and adjacent uplands. While regional C-CAP data capture changes in our nation’s coastal areas by updating land cover maps every five years, high-resolution C-CAP products focus on bringing NOAA's national mapping framework to the local level by providing data relevant for addressing site-specific management decisions.

Data Specifications

  • Area of Coverage: Targeted watershed and other hotspots in the Caribbean, the Pacific Islands region, and Monterey Bay, California.
  • Date(s) Available: Vary by location
  • Format: IMG Raster, GeoTIFF
  • Resolution/Scale: 1- to 5-meter resolution (vary by location)
  • Minimum Mapping Unit: 1/10 of an acre
  • Accuracy: Varies depending upon individual project or partner need and funding.


  • Produced through documented, repeatable procedures using standard data sources and including extensive field sampling, validation, and standard quality control review procedures.
  • Utilizes various sources of data, including aerial and satellite imagery.
  • Complementary to NOAA's regional C-CAP data for "hot spot" areas of need. These products use a slightly modified version of the standard C-CAP classification scheme.

Notes and Limitations: C-CAP data sets are not jurisdictional or intended for use in litigation. While efforts have been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of current technology, NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages or misrepresentations caused by inaccuracies in the data, or as a result of the data to be used on a particular system. NOAA makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty.

Stories from the Field

Mapping Ecosystem Habitats along the Lower Columbia River
With technical assistance from NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program, the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership developed a classification tailored to the Lower Columbia River’s unique system.

Identifying Historical Wetland Habitat Changes in Oregon
An up-to-date C-CAP land cover map and historical habitat data helped restoration planners in the lower Columbia River.

Identifying Sources of Pollution That Impact Coral Reef Communities in the Virgin Islands
C-CAP high-resolution land cover data helped identify watersheds where human land-use activity contributes to sediment and contaminants that impact coral reefs.

Mapping the Urban Realm to Enhance Community Resilience in Hawaii
C-CAP data helped identify priority urban forests, which enhance the health of coastal ecosystems and the resilience of coastal communities.

Identifying Areas for Water Quality Improvement Projects in Oahu, Hawaii
The Habitat Priority Planner and N-SPECT were used with lidar and land cover data to identify sites that affect water quality in the Ko’olaupoko region.

Compiling Natural Resource Data for Watershed Strategies in Hawaii
The Habitat Priority Planner was used with C-CAP high-resolution land cover data to compile natural resource data for community consideration of a range of watershed management strategies.


Frequently Asked Questions

C-CAP Classification Scheme and Class Definitions
Provides a description of land cover classes

Diving Deeper: Land Cover Data
Highlights the difference between land cover and land use, the ways land cover data are collected, and some of the many applications of land cover data (recorded interview, July 29, 2009,14:58 minutes)

Excel Worksheets for Basic Analysis
Contains instructions and worksheets to create a series of basic statistics, graphics, and change matrices for high-resolution C-CAP data

Considerations and Methodologies for High Resolution Land Cover Mapping
Summarizes the elements and challenges related to high spatial resolution mapping projects, including planning and data acquisition, data integration, classification, and change detection (one-hour seminar from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing)

Have a Question? Or a Comment? Let us know.
Please send an email if you have general questions related to land cover data, technical questions specific to C-CAP data, questions on how to best make use of this data in your application, or comments about the usefulness of the data. Contact us at