The Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium has supported the development of two national digital land cover products: the National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD) 1992 and National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2001. Substantial differences in imagery, legends, and methods between these two land cover products must be overcome in order to support direct comparison. The NLCD 1992-2001 Land Cover Change Retrofit product was developed to provide more accurate and useful land cover change data than would be possible by direct comparison of NLCD 1992 and NLCD 2001. For the change analysis method to be both national in scale and timely, implementation required production across many Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) path/rows simultaneously. To meet these requirements, a hybrid change analysis process was developed to incorporate both post-classification comparison and specialized ratio differencing change analysis techniques.
At a resolution of 30 meters, the completed NLCD 1992-2001 Land Cover Change Retrofit product contains unchanged pixels from the NLCD 2001 land cover dataset that have been cross-walked to a modified Anderson Level I class code, and changed pixels labeled with a 'from-to' class code. Analysis of the results for the conterminous United States indicated that about 3 percent of the land cover dataset changed between 1992 and 2001.