Land Cover and Development

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Land cover is the classification of units of the earths surface into a set of cover classes. Development is the process of changing these units of surface from natural cover such as forest or wetland, into increasingly intense developed land cover classes.


  • NOAA C-CAP data provide a sequence of the most commonly used land cover data using an interpretation of LANDSAT satellite data, which provides a spectral signature of the earths surface in 30m pixels.
  • The WDFW High Resolution Aerial Imagery Change Detection uses an automated aerial photo analysis to detect loss or gain in forest cover between USDA NAIP aerial photography overflights (typically biennial).
  • Puget Sound Partnership has selected change in land cover as a regional metric as part of the Puget Sound Vital Signs
  • Change in land cover and how it affects streams and wetlands in watersheds should be developed as a topic