Land Cover Trends Project

Methods

Overview/Summary  •   Ecoregion Framework  •   Sampling Strategy  •   LandSat Source Data   •   Classification System  •   Interpretation Process  •   References


Landsat Source Data

For each sample block, five dates of Landsat imagery were used to interpret and map LULC. The Landsat imagery provided a consistent, synoptic, multispectral view of the land surface from which information on LULC could be interpreted for the period from 1973 to 2000.

Imagery from the Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS), Thematic Mapper (TM), and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instruments was acquired from the North American Landscape Characterization (NALC) project (Lunetta and others, 1998), the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) Landsat Scene Library (MRLC, 2012), and the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive. Landsat imagery from NALC and MRLC had been used in other land characterization efforts and had the added benefit of low cost (prior to the Landsat archive becoming free to download) and robust pre-processing. The scenes obtained from NALC and MRLC were previously georeferenced to root-mean-square errors of 1 pixel or less. Additionally, the majority of the NALC MSS data had also been terrain corrected. The Landsat scenes selected for the national Land Cover Trends mapping effort were spaced at semi-regular, 6 to 8 years intervals (1973, 1980, 1986, 1992, and 2000).

Landsat data used to develop the Land Cover Trends dataset

[Land Cover Trends largely leveraged Landsat imagery acquired by the North American Landscape Characterization (NALC) project and the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) Landsat Scene Library. New acquisitions from the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive (NSLRSDA) were made to provide imagery circa 1980. Many of these data were available at no charge, and included additional pre-processing measures/steps to maintain registration consistency.]

Nominal Date

Landsat Sensor

Resolution

Data Source

1973

MSS

60 meters

NALC

1980

MSS

60 meters

NSLRSDA

1986

MSS

60 meters

NALC

1992

TM, MSS

30 meters, 60 meters

MRLC, NALC

2000

ETM+

30 meters

MRLC

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