Multi-Resolution Land Cover Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium

The Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) consortium is a group of federal agencies who coordinate and generate consistent and relevant land cover information at the national scale for a wide variety of environmental, land management, and modeling applications. The creation of this consortium has resulted in the mapping of the lower 48 United States, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico into a comprehensive land cover product termed, the National Land Cover Database (NLCD), from decadal Landsat satellite imagery and other supplementary datasets.

NLCD 2016 Now Available

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released a new generation of National Land Cover Database (NLCD) products named NLCD 2016 for the conterminous U.S. NLCD 2016 contains 28 different land cover products characterizing land cover and land cover change across 7 epochs from 2001-2016, urban imperviousness and urban imperviousness change across 4 epochs from 2001-2016, tree canopy and tree canopy change across 2 epochs from 2011-2016 and western U.S. shrub and grassland areas for 2016. Data are available on this website either as prepackaged products or custom product areas can be interactively chosen using the viewer. NLCD 2016 represents the most comprehensive land cover database ever produced by the USGS and was specifically developed to meet the rapidly growing demand for land cover change data. NLCD is coordinated through the 10-member Multi‑Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC), a two decades-long interagency federal government collaboration that has proved an exemplary model of cooperation among federal agencies to combine resources to provide digital land cover information for the Nation.

NLCD 2016 now offers land cover for years 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016, and impervious surface for 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2016. These products update all previously released versions of landcover and impervious products for CONUS (NLCD 2001, NLCD 2006, NLCD 2011) and are not directly comparable to previous products. NLCD 2016 land cover and impervious surface product versions of previous dates must be downloaded for proper comparison. A new product for NLCD 2016 land cover is the NLCD Land Cover Change Index. This index provides a simple and comprehensive way to visualize change from all 7 dates of land cover in a single layer. The change index was designed to assist NLCD users to understand complex land cover change with a single product. NLCD 2016 also offers an impervious surface descriptor product. This product identifies types of roads, core urban areas, and energy production sites for each impervious pixel to allow deeper analysis of developed features.