Minnesota Land Use/Cover: Recent (1969-present)
This page identifies modern land use/cover data and maps. Nationwide data sources are described in the
first section followed by statewide sources and then regional and
county sources. Note that the regional sources are usually more
detailed than the state or national sources.
Where to start?
Quick-start comparison table: An
overview of Minnesota land use/cover sources by geographic area, time period,
scale/resolution, classification, and data type.
Regional and county inventories
Contact and update information
National Land Cover Data (NLCD)
The National Land Cover Characterization project was created in 1995 to
develop a nationally consistent land cover data set. In addition to
satellite data, scientists use a variety of supporting information to
determine land cover type at a 30-meter resolution. The classification
is a modified version of the general Level II categories of the Anderson
- 2011 version
data: 2011 land cover; 2006/2011 land cover change; percent
tree canopy; percent developed imperviousness; 2006/2011 percent
developed imperviousness change
- 2006 version
- 2001 version
Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium:
The consortium coordinates the project and provides project information.
- Use their FTP download option to obtain the entire data set in IMG (ERDAS
- Use their dynamic download option to choose subsets of the data in a
choice of GeoTIFF, ArcGRID or BIL formats.
- Projection is Albers conical equal area
- Tree canopy and imperviousness layers are also available.
Download from MN DNR in UTM coordinates (see Land Cover category,
- Classification system
- Change between 1992 and 2001
- 1992 version
- GAP Land Cover
The Gap Analysis Project creates land cover datasets as part of its
mission to identify habitats that need further protection. Based on the
same satellite imagery that is used for the National Land Cover Data
described above, its classification is more detailed and places special
emphasis on natural plant communities.
Minnesota Land Cover 1991-1992:
colorful poster-sized map from the Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources, Resource Assessment unit, including
acreages of each land cover category.
- National Resources Inventory (NRI)
NRI is a statistically based
survey that has been designed to assess conditions and trends of soil,
water and related resources on non-federal lands in the United States.
Initially, the Natural Resources Conservation Service conducted the
inventory on a 5-year cycle (1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2001) but changed to an annual
program starting in
2001. Data on land cover and use is one of the many attributes that NRI
captures at more than 800,000 scientifically selected sample sites, of
than 8,100 are in Minnesota.
- Cropland Data Layer (CDL): U.S. Department of Agriculture,
National Agricultural Statistics Service
This data emphasizes agricultural land cover and is produced using
- Land Use / Land Cover (LULC): U.S. Geological Survey
The 21-class LULC data was based primarily on the manual interpretation
of 1970s and 1980s aerial photography.
- 2000 and 1990 Level 1 Landsat Landcover Classification
Seven land cover types were derived via multitemporal,
multispectral supervised classification of satellite imagery.
- 1990s Census of the Land
Eight categories were generalized
from more detailed regional and county inventories (described below) to produce a
statewide poster-size map (now out-of-print). Note that the detailed inventories were done at
different time periods and used different classification systems.
- 1969: This statewide inventory classifies land use into 9 categories mapped at a 40-acre
Regional and county inventories
maps and data sets cover various regions of Minnesota. They are more
detailed than the state inventories described above. See a
areas covered by each data set
. Also check
for planned land use or zoning maps.
- Agricultural and transition counties (1988-90)
- Forested counties (1991-96)
Twin Cities metropolitan area (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin,
Ramsey, Scott and Washington Counties; MLCCS covers portions of these
counties and also includes areas in some
counties near the metro)
- MetroGIS: A variety of land use data sets
are available from MetroGIS's DataFinder site -- see "Planning and
Development" category -- including generalized land use for 2010, 2005
historical generalized land use (2010, 2005, 2000, 1997, 1990 and 1984 combined),
1945 and 1957 residential land use, and planned land use.
Council maps and statistics: For the years 2005, 2000, 1997 and 1990,
choose from an online map, tables and charts, or printable maps by
Twin Cities Metro Hybrid Landcover 2000: The Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources used reference information to clarify and correct
classifications in the University of Minnesota's Landsat-based metro
landcover data set.
Minnesota Land Cover Classification System (MLCCS):
This data system was developed beginning in 1998 to categorize urban and built-up areas in terms of land
cover rather than land use. The project is ongoing; check DNR's status maps for
geographic areas that are completed, planned and proposed.
Land Cover and Impervious Surface Area 2002: Map and statistics;
also available for 1998, 1991, and 1986. Statistics are available by
county, city and township.
Land Cover Change Classification project: This project evaluates the potential
for satellite remote sensing for land cover classification and change
analysis (Landsat, 1991 and 1998). The website contains maps, a viewer,
statistics and a description of the project and is maintained by the University of Minnesota's Upper Midwest Regional Earth
Science Applications Center.
Olmsted County (1992 and 2000)
- Beltrami and Clearwater Counties (1986)
- Camp Ripley and Beltrami Island State Forest, in Morrison and
Roseau counties (1992-96)
- Minnesota County Biological Survey Native Plant Community and
Rare Species (ongoing since 1987)
National Park, in northern St. Louis County
The park's vegetation mapping
program has produced maps and GIS data.
Mississippi River System USGS, Upper Midwest
Environmental Sciences Center
In Minnesota, this data includes land cover along the
Mississippi River from the Twin Cities south to Iowa, plus the lower Minnesota
and lower St. Croix Rivers. Years include: 2010, 2000, 1998, 1995,
1994, 1991, 1989, 1975, and 1890's. Level of detail,
area covered, and source of data varies greatly by year. The site
provides a viewer and GIS data.
Contact and update information
The information on this site represents MnGeo's most up-to-date understanding of land
use/cover data for Minnesota.
If you know of other publicly available land
use/cover information sources, please
contact us at:
, (651) 201-2489 or 658 Cedar Street,
Room 300, St. Paul, MN 55155.
Return to MnGeo's main Land Use/Cover page
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