The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a long heritage of leadership and innovation in land use and land cover mapping. The USGS Anderson system defined the principles for land use and land cover mapping that have been the model both nationally and internationally for more than 20 years. The Land Cover Characterization Program (LCCP) is founded on the premise that the Nation‘s needs for land cover and land use data are diverse and increasingly sophisticated. The range of projects, programs, and organizations that use land cover data to meet their planning, management, development, and assessment objectives has expanded significantly. The reasons for this are numerous, and include the improved capabilities provided by geographic information systems, better and more data-intensive analytic models, and increasing requirements for improved information for decision making.
The overall goals of the LCCP are to:
(1) identify the broad range of user requirements;
(2) identify sources, develop procedures, and organize partners to deliver data and information to meet user requirements.
The LCCP builds on the heritage and success of previous USGS land use and land cover programs and projects. It will be compatible with current concepts of government operations, the changing needs of the land use and land cover data users, and the technological tools with which the data are applied.