The Critical Zone

Land Cover Maps


Land cover maps are available from the USGS—the maps characterize the natural environment as well as the land use. Depending on the year and other factors, twenty-one land-use categories have been applied to the United States.

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Tennessee Land Use/Land Cover Classification




For this assignment, you will need to record your work on a word processing document. Your work must be submitted in Word (.doc) or PDF (.pdf) format so I can open it. In addition, documents must be double-spaced and typed in 12 point Times Roman font.

  1. To learn more about land cover maps, download the short information sheet available at the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium Web site.
  2. To access land cover maps of places you will visit, go to the National Map Web site - be patient for the page to load.
  3. Look to the top of the page in the green bar, and choose the third icon from the left (Layer List), and then choose the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) - work through the drop-down menu here and choose NLCD 2001.
  4. Zoom in to your study site to determine the mapped land cover/land use—be sure to use the appropriate color key (legend) to study your site. (2001 legend).
  5. Choose NLCD 2016, zoom into your study site, and compare to NLCD 2001. (2016 legend).
  6. Continue the three-page report for this lesson by responding to the following questions:
    • What can you learn regarding your study site?
    • Is it consistent with what you have observed in other data sources studied this semester?
  7. Re-save your document and continue with this lesson.