Stories From The Field

Expanding Land Cover Change Visualization to the Entire Nation

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Issue

The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Land Cover Database provides land cover and change data for the nation, while the NOAA Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) produces this information for the coastal portion of the U.S. For some users, accessing and manipulating the data may be difficult or prohibitive without special software. Online viewers such as C-CAP’s Land Cover Atlas make it easy for all users to view and obtain quick summary information of land cover change information. The U.S. Geological Survey was interested in expanding visualization and land cover change summary capabilities for its data at national and state scales for the entire nation.

Process

Office for Coastal Management staff members provided the software code and change tables to create visualizations and summary statistics for each state at a higher (national and state) scale than the county and watershed scale reported by the Land Cover Atlas. By repurposing the Land Cover Atlas, the U.S. Geological Survey was able to provide a national tool at a low level of effort while avoiding duplication.

Impact

With support from NOAA Office for Coastal Management staff members, the U.S. Geological Survey was able to create a tool very similar to the Land Cover Atlas and provide land cover and change information for the nation. The National Land Cover Database Evaluation Visualization and Analysis tool provides user-friendly access to national and state land cover and land cover change information developed through the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium. The tool complements the Land Cover Atlas and summarizes general land change trends, as well as provides users with the option to specify and explore land cover change classes of interest (e.g., forest to urban) for the nation.

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