Land Cover Map 2000

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Product Description:

The Land Cover Map 2000 (LCM2000) is the second map in the series and provides an update and upgrade to the original LCM1990 product.  Whereas LCM1990 covered Great Britain, LCM2000 also covers Northern Ireland, producing for the first time a single land cover product covering all of the UK.  LCM2000 has been used by various government departments and agencies throughout the UK, for a wide range of applications such as environmental character assessments, transport planning, habitat relationship modelling, and forestry research.

The data was produced from a combination of Landsat Thematic Mapper and Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite imagery, using object based image analysis (OBIA) technique.  Instead of using regular sized pixels, OBIA considers the land surface as a collection of discrete irregular objects such as forests, lakes, and urban areas.  These objects were derived from image segments and were assigned land cover values according to the pixel distributions within their boundaries, with the classifications were then refined using contextual and ancillary information.

The land cover classifications are defined by a hierarchical nomenclature mapped to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s (JNCC) UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Broad Habitats.  Three hierarchical tiers (levels) of classifications have been defined, leading to a range of varying datasets:


 Level 1

 Aggregate classes (x10)

 Level 2

 Broad Habitat classes (x26)

 Level 3

 Broad Habitat Subclasses (x72)

 Vector product  Y  Y
 Raster, 25m  Y
 Raster, 1km  Y  Y


The hierarchal classification system is illustrated below:


Datasets Available:

The LCM2000 product is provided in a range of different data formats, spatial and thematic resolutions, in order to support a wide range of potential applications:


  • LCM2000 Vector Formats

The vector product is the most detailed, with each topologically structured polygon representing a land parcel with attributes describing land cover class and metadata regarding how the classes were derived, from the original image acquisition dates and sensor type to pixel count statistics.  Two different levels of thematic resolution are available:


  • LCM2000 Vector Level 2

This is the standard level of detail providing 26 Subclasses, and is the most widely used version of the dataset.


  • LCM2000 Vector Level 3

This dataset adds class detail down to the 72 Variant level.  The quality of this data may vary geographically and thus can require expert interpretation, so Level 3 data is only provided by special arrangement with CEH staff in order to provide more user support.


  • LCM2000 Raster Formats

The raster products have been derived by simplifying the vector product, and are provided at two different spatial resolutions:


  • LCM2000 raster 25m resolution

This is the ‘standard’ full resolution raster dataset, and was created by converting the vector land parcels dataset into a 25m raster grid.  This dataset provides one single raster layer of data, with each 25m x 25m pixel being assigned to the most dominant one of the 26 Subclasses.


  • LCM2000 raster 1km resolution ‘Summary Products’

Derived from the 25m raster, more generalised 1km resolution datasets are also available.  The aggregation from 25m to 1km was undertaken by two different methods:


  • Dominant Value Rasters

Similar to the 25m data, this dataset provides one single raster layer of data, with each 1km x 1km pixel being assigned to one land cover class.  The assignment is based on which class is most dominant within the 1km pixel extent, aggregated from the 1,600 (40×40) 25m pixels within each 1km pixel.  This data is available at two different thematic resolutions:


  • LCM2000 raster 1km, dominant cover for LCM2000 Aggregated (10) land cover classes (level 1)
  • LCM2000 raster 1km, dominant cover for LCM2000 Subclass (26) land cover classes (level 2)


  • Percentage Value Rasters

Since larger pixels are more likely to include a wider range of land cover types, this dataset provides separate raster layers for each of the land cover classes.  Within each layer, the pixel values represent the percentage of that 1km pixel designated as being of a particular land cover type.  For example, a 1km pixel is comprised of 1,600 25m pixels in the original data.  If 320 of these 1,600 pixels were of land cover type ‘marsh/rough grass’, then the layer for this class would have a value of 20 (%) for this 1km pixel.  This data is available at two different thematic resolutions:


  • LCM2000 raster 1km, percentage cover for LCM2000 Aggregated (10) land cover classes (level 1)
  • LCM2000 raster 1km, percentage cover for LCM2000 Subclass (26) land cover classes (level 2)


Please note that all LCM2000 dataset versions are supplied in two parts: a GB dataset in British National Grid projection, and an NI dataset in Irish National Grid projection.

Summary of LCM2000 datasets available:


 Data Structure  Land cover classes  Raster Resolution  Raster Layers  Value Type  Data Types
 Vector  26 (level 2)  N/A  N/A  Dominant  Vector (polygons)
 Vector  72 (level 3)  N/A  N/A  Dominant  Vector (polygons)
 Raster  26 (level 2)  25m  1  Dominant  Raster grid
 Raster  10 (level 1)  1km  1  Dominant  Raster grid
 Raster  10 (level 1)  1km  10  Percentage  Raster grid
 Raster  26 (level 2)  1km  1  Dominant  Raster grid
 Raster  26 (level 2)  1km  26  Percentage  Raster grid


Dataset Thumbnail:


Dataset Specification:

Product Name

Land Cover Map 2000 (LCM2000)

Data Provider

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)


Minimum mappable unit of 0.5ha, 25m or 1km pixel resolution


United Kingdom (complete)

Data Structure

  • Vector (polygons)
  • Raster


  • Vector: Esri Shapefile, Esri File GeoDatabase, MapInfo TAB, MID/MIF, Autodesk DWG, DXF, OGC KML, OGC GML, CSV (attribute data only)
  • Raster: GeoTIFF



CEH Licence

Update Frequency


Dataset Resources:

LCM2000 Product site
LCM2000 Vector attributes and metadata
LCM2000 Raster 25m metadata
LCM2000 Raster 1km metadata
LCM2000 Sample Data (zip)
LCM2000 Final Report (pdf)
LCM2000 Classification Guide (pdf)
LCM2000 Dataset Information (pdf)
LCM2000 Raster Dataset Details (pdf)