Montana Land Cover Layer

An MSDI Framework Layer

Project lead: Jessica Mitchell

Analyst: Claudine Tobalske

The Montana land cover layer is one of fifteen “framework” geographic databases that compose the Montana Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI), all of them vital for making maps of Montana and understanding its geography. The Spatial Analysis Lab has been the layer’s steward since its first release in 2009.

A baseline digital raster map of Montana natural land cover and human land use, the Montana land cover layer uses ecological systems and human land uses as its mapping units. Ecological systems occur in similar physical environments, and are influenced by similar events such as flooding, fire, wind, and snowfall. They can be classified from aerial or satellite imagery, and are easily identifiable in the field. Primary users of this theme include land and wildlife management agencies, county and local planners, academic and agency researchers, and recreationists. Because pixel size for the data is 30m, the data are best used at a 1:100,000 scale or greater.

Coverage of Montana in this dataset is complete, but it represents the landscape as of the date of the mapping source data (varying dates from 2000 to the present).  Maintenance includes 1) ongoing correction and refinement, as well as integration of other digital land cover data (e.g. fires, agriculture, transportation); 2) addition of new land cover classification from higher-resolution or more current imagery; 3) modifications and revisions to classification units and edits to the Montana Field Guide, where the classification units are described; 4) crosswalking of classification units to other classification schemes as federal rules require (e.g. FGDC standard).

Download the Montana_Landcover geodatabase from its MSDI page.  

Data sources used in annual updates of the Montana Land Cover Layer within the MSDI framework.