Land Cover Maps

When it comes down to it, I find land cover maps to be one of the most intriguing maps. This is in part from the respect to the process that goes into the development of those products but also just the information they hold. Come fall I always pull up the National Land Cover Dataset and see if I can find a good aspen patch to go exploring in. Theses maps are generally used for very practical purposes in research and planning so the goal is to make all the classes visually distinct. The result of this is a rather abstracted landscape that does not really look much like the real world. A usefully map, but not the most engaging.

NLCD 2011

Here’s my theory with land cover. If you live in and explore the landscape around you, you know what the land cover actually looks like. So if the map looks like the landscape, the user will be able to use the map to identify various land cover one the landscape.

Upper Arkansas River Valley Land Cover

To produce this map I relied heavily on the details outline by the contributors of shaded relief The process primarily uses photoshop and is a great practice to undertake if you want to expand your ability to produce maps outside of more common spatial programs. A stretch activity of sorts. If your interested in producing one of these but sure to give yourself some time and be sure to have a good reason. Style takes time.