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This focus group overlaps with several of the other DTWG focus groups. It is hoped that this group can serve as a nexus between data producing programs like the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium and simulation modelers. The types of modeling envisioned as interacting here include terrestial modeling for land cover forecasting and trend analysis, hydrologic simulation, and ecosystem assessment.

Land Cover

This section focuses largely on the Multi-Resolution Land Characterization (MRLC) Consortium's National Land Cover Database products. Authors are encouraged to add other sources of information, particularly for regional or national data.

Historical Conditions

The Multi-Resolution Land Characterization (MRLC) Consortium's National Land Cover Database products for are the starting point for all of this.

  • 1992 
    • NLCD-LCCR (Land Cover Change Retrofit) product was created because the methods used to create the 2001 product were so different from those of the 1992 product that the two were not directly comparable.
    • is there no such thing as a "version 2" of the 1992 product that is directly comparable to the 2001 product?
  • 2001
  • 2006

There is an entire project devoted to this here. Might be worth getting someone from this team to talk to CDI. They also might be interested in technology for serving their data in something more dynamic than a zip of ERDAS files.


Several groups around the USGS are engaged in this type of modeling.

Agricultural Areas

USDA Cropland Data Layer

Cropscape web data services and geo-processing services are available, see their Developer Guide section 1.

Impervious Surfaces

This land characteristic is very important to watershed modeling. The NLCD 2001 and 2006 data sets have raster maps of this for those years. Impervious surface areas must be inferred for all other time periods. If the use case demands more than simply using the most timely NLCD product, then this usually requires some kind of modeling. Many such models do not directly produce estimates of impervious surface, instead producing maps of urbanization and other land cover classes. This requires the end user to devise a method to transform that content into the desired information. Implied in this is user expertise regarding the details of the modeled urbanization data product.

Vegetation Classification

Folks have expressed an interest in discussing vegetation classification, among other topics. This could also include forecast simulations. Interested parties should modify this page accordingly/make a sub-page.

  • Alexa McKerrow

USGS Gap Analysis Program

GAP land cover data includes detailed vegetation and land use patterns for the continental United States. 


Seems like a good fit, although I don't know so much about this one...

  • Jake Weltzin
  • Remotely sensed data
  • USDA
  • Academics
  • (Jake's probably already all over this)


Viger, Roland 1000
Hsu, Leslie 100
Langseth, Madison Lee 100
Wiltermuth, Mark T. 100

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