College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Center for Land Use Education and Research

Land Cover Category Descriptions

 

 

Class

Description

 

Developed

High-density built-up areas typically associated with commercial, industrial and residential activities and transportation routes. These areas can be expected to contain a significant amount of impervious surfaces, roofs, roads, and other concrete and asphalt surfaces.

 

Turf & Grass

A compound category of undifferentiated maintained grasses associated mostly with developed areas. This class contains cultivated lawns typical of residential neighborhoods, parks, cemeteries, golf courses, turf farms, and other maintained grassy areas. Also includes some agricultural fields due to similar spectral reflectance properties.

 

Other Grasses

Includes non-maintained grassy areas commonly found along transportation routes and other developed areas, and within and surrounding airport properties. Also likely to include forested clear-cut areas, and some abandoned agricultural areas that appear to be undergoing conversion to woody scrub and shrub cover.

 

Agricultural Field

Includes areas that are under agricultural uses such as crop production and/or active pasture. Also likely to include some abandoned agricultural areas that have not undergone conversion to woody vegetation.

 

Deciduous Forest

Includes southern New England mixed hardwood forests. Also includes scrub areas characterized by patches of dense woody vegetation. May include isolated low density residential areas.

 

Coniferous Forest

Includes southern New England mixed softwood forests. May include isolated low density residential areas.

 

Water

Open water bodies and watercourses with relatively deep water.

 

Non-forested Wetland

Includes areas that predominately are wet throughout most of the year and that have a detectable vegetative cover (therefore not open water). Also includes some small water courses due to spectral characteristics of mixed pixels that include both water and vegetation.

 

Forested Wetland

Includes areas depicted as wetland, but with forested cover. Also includes some small water courses due to spectral characteristics of mixed pixels that include both water and vegetation.

 

Tidal Wetland

Emergent wetlands, wet throughout most of the year, with distinctive marsh vegetation and located in areas influenced by tidal change.

 

Barren

Mostly non-agricultural areas free from vegetation, such as sand, sand and gravel operations, bare exposed rock, mines, and quarries. Also includes some urban areas where the composition of construction materials spectrally resembles more natural materials. Also includes some bare soil agricultural fields.

 

Utility Rights-of-way (Forest)

Includes utility rights-of-way. This category was manually digitized on-screen from rights-of-way visible in the Landsat satellite imagery. The class was digitized within the deciduous and coniferous categories only.

Change To Category Descriptions

 

Class

Description

No Change Classes

 

Developed before 1985

Areas (pixels) developed before the 1985 satellite image was captured.

 

Turf & Grass

Areas (pixels) that were turf and grass before the 1985 satellite image was captured.

 

Water

Any pixel that was water in at least one of the four land cover maps.

 

Undeveloped

Pixels still undeveloped* on the 2002 Land Cover Map.

Change Classes

Change from Undeveloped to . . .

 

Developed 1985-1990

Areas (pixels) undeveloped* in 1985 and developed in 1990.

 

Turf & Grass 1985-1990

Areas (pixels) undeveloped* in 1985 and turf and grass in 1990.

 

Developed 1990-1995

Areas (pixels) undeveloped* in 1990 and developed in 1995.

 

Turf & Grass 1990-1995

Areas (pixels) undeveloped* in 1990 and turf and grass in 1995.

 

Developed 1995-2002

Areas (pixels) undeveloped* in 1995 and developed in 2002.

 

Turf & Grass 1995-2002

Areas (pixels) undeveloped* in 1995 and turf and grass in 2002.

 

Developed 2002-2006

Areas (pixels) undeveloped* in 2002 and developed in 2006.

 

Turf & Grass 2002-2006

Areas (pixels) undeveloped* in 2002 and turf and grass in 2006.

*Here, undeveloped includes deciduous forest, coniferous forest, non-forested wetlands, forested wetlands, tidal wetlands, barren, and utility rights-of-way.

Change From Category Descriptions

 

Class

Description

No Change Classes

 

Developed before 1985

Areas (pixels) developed before the 1985 satellite image was captured.

 

Turf & Grass

Areas (pixels) that were turf and grass before the 1985 satellite image was captured.

 

Water

Any pixel that was water in at least one of the four land cover maps.

 

Undeveloped/Other

Pixels still undeveloped* on the 2002 Land Cover Map.

Change Classes

Change from Undeveloped to . . .

 

Agricultural Field to Developed

Areas (pixels) that were Agricultural Field in 1985 and developed in 2006.

 

Agricultural Field to Turf & Grass

Areas (pixels) Agricultural Field in 1985 and turf and grass in 2006.

 

Forest to Developed

Areas (pixels) Forest* in 1985 and developed in 2006.

 

Forest to Turf & Grass

Areas (pixels) Forest* in 1985 and turf and grass in 2006.

 

Other Classes to Developed

Areas (pixels) belonging to other undeveloped classes** in 1985 and developed in 2006.

 

Other Classes to Turf & Grass

Areas (pixels) belonging to other undeveloped classes** in 1985 and turf and grass in 2006.

* Forest includes deciduous forest, coniferous forest, forested wetlands and utility rights-of-way.

* Other undeveloped classes includes other grasses, non-forested wetland, tidal wetlands and barren.

Back to Top