Land Cover Map 2015

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Product Description:

The Land Cover Map 2015 (LCM2015) was released in April 2017 and is the CEH’s fourth and latest land cover map in the series.  Based primarily on Landsat-8 satellite data acquired in 2015, similar to LCM2007 the dataset covers the whole of the UK and provides land cover classifications based on JNCC’s UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Broad Habitats, resulting in 21 land cover classes (the same as LCM2007 but without Rough Grassland and Montane).  Again, the data has been produced using a parcel-based mapping technique, but this is based on an enhanced same spatial framework.  Again, land parcels were sourced from OS MasterMap topography layer for GB and Land & Property Services (previously OSNI) large-scale vector for NI, and then refined with other spatial datasets (e.g. DEM’s, RPA field boundaries, and census boundaries).  Deriving objects from digital cartography increases the accuracy since the cartographic boundaries accurately delineate real-world land cover objects, improving the spatial accuracy.  It also helps clarify the spectral properties of the land surface and subsequently improves thematic accuracy.

Two hierarchical tiers (levels) of thematic classifications have been defined.  The ‘main’ classification provides 21 classes, and these have been grouped into 10 ‘aggregate’ classes for the generalised products:


 Level 1

 Aggregate classes (x10)

 Level 2

 Broad Habitat classes (x21)

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


Datasets Available:

The LCM2015 product is provided in a range of different data formats, spatial and thematic resolutions, in order to support a wide range of potential applications:


  • LCM2015 Vector Format

The vector product is the most detailed, containing 6.7 million land parcel polygons for GB and 0.9 million for NI.  Each topologically structured polygon has nine attributes describing the dominant land cover class and metadata regarding how the classes were derived from the original source image, uncertainty information, the number of pixels classified as each land cover class, and the mean probability for the polygon from the classification algorithm.  The vector dataset maps the 21 Broad Habitat land cover class (level 2).


  • LCM2015 Raster Formats

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


  • LCM2015 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 two raster layers of data:

  • The classification layer – which assigns each 25m x 25m pixel to the most dominant class of the 21 LCM2015 Broad Habitat land cover classes; and
  • The probability layer – which provides the mean per-polygon probability value of the majority class from the Random Forest classification algorithm.


  • LCM2015 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:


  • LCM2015 raster 1km, dominant cover for LCM2015 Aggregated (10) land cover classes (level 1)
  • LCM2015 raster 1km, dominant cover for LCM2015 Broad Habitat (21) 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:


  • LCM2015 raster 1km, percentage cover for LCM2015 Aggregated (10) land cover classes (level 1)
  • LCM2015 raster 1km, percentage cover for LCM2015 Broad Habitat (21) land cover classes (level 2)


Please note that all LCM2015 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 LCM2015 datasets available:


 Data Structure  Land cover classes  Raster Resolution  Raster Layers  Value Type  Data Types
 Vector  21 Broad Habitat Class (level 2)  N/A  N/A  Dominant  Vector (polygons)
 Raster  21 Broad Habitat Class (level 2)  25m  2  Dominant  Raster grid
 Raster  10 Aggregated Class (level 1)  1km  1  Dominant  Raster grid
 Raster  10 Aggregated Class (level 1)  1km  10  Percentage  Raster grid
 Raster  21 Broad Habitat Class (level 2)  1km  1  Dominant  Raster grid
 Raster  21 Broad Habitat Class (level 2)  1km  21  Percentage  Raster grid


Dataset Thumbnail:


Dataset Specification:

Product Name

Land Cover Map 2015 (LCM2015)

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, OGC KML, OGC GML, CSV (attribute data only)
  • Raster: GeoTIFF



CEH Licence

Update Frequency


Dataset Resources:

LCM2015 Product site
LCM2015 Statistics site
LCM2015 Sample Data (zip)
LCM2015 Dataset Documentation (pdf)