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.
Quick-start comparison table: An overview of Minnesota land use/cover sources by geographic area, time period, scale/resolution, classification, and data type.
National Land Cover Data (NLCD) New suite of land use change products
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. New in this version is a land cover change index. Data is available for download, via services and via a map viewer.
- 2016 version
- Previous versions of earlier years, not comparable to 2016 data, clipped to Minnesota in UTM Zone 15 coordinates
- 2011: Minnesota
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.
GAP program overview from the USGS
- Upper Midwest GAP Image Processing Protocol (PDF) provides the details of the data set's creation; see Appendix A for the classification system.
from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
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 which more than 8,100 are in Minnesota.
This data emphasizes agricultural land cover and is produced using satellite imagery.
These nationally standardized, raster-based inventories cover coastal intertidal areas, wetlands, and adjacent uplands for the coastal U.S. Data are derived from the analysis of multiple dates of remotely sensed Landsat imagery. Data is available as individual dates of land cover and change files comparing one date to another. This 30-meter data is updated every five years using consistent procedures.
This multi-partner program produces consistent, comprehensive, geospatial data and databases that describe vegetation, wildland fuel, and fire regimes.
"Existing vegetation" layers: vegetation type, canopy cover and
The 21-class LULC data was based primarily on the manual interpretation of 1970s and 1980s aerial photography.
- 2013 Land Cover Classification and Impervious Surface Area by
Landsat and LiDAR
A 15-meter raster dataset created using a combination of multi-temporal Landsat 8 data and LiDAR data with object-based image analysis.
- 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 resolution.
- 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)
- Land Cover 2015: A 1-meter raster dataset created using a combination of 2015 FSA NAIP data, LiDAR, and other datasets, using object-based image analysis.
- Metropolitan Council: A variety of land use datasets are available from the Minnesota Geospatial Commons, including generalized land use for 2010, 2005 and 2000, historical generalized land use (2010, 2005, 2000, 1997, 1990 and 1984 combined), 1945 and 1959 residential land use, and planned land use.
- Metropolitan Council maps and statistics: For the years 2005, 2000, 1997 and 1990, choose from an online map, tables and charts, or printable maps by municipality.
- 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.
- Duluth and Rochester (2015): 1-meter raster dataset created using a combination of 2015 FSA NAIP data, LiDAR, and other datasets, using object-based image analysis.
- Olmsted County (1992 and 2000)
- Clearwater and Beltrami 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.
Return to MnGeo's main Land Use/Cover page