Land Cover Map

Land Cover Map 2007 (LCM2007) is the latest land cover map to be produced by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology on behalf of the Countryside Survey partnership. It provides land cover information for the entire UK based on the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Broad Habitats which are widely used in monitoring and reporting on our countryside. LCM2007 has been derived from satellite images, digital cartography, ground reference data and ancillary datasets.

Why do we need LCM2007?

At a time when our land surface is under ever-increasing pressure, reliable information on land cover is essential. A growing population of over 61 million people needs space to live, to work, space for leisure and recreation, places to bury or process waste, a transport network, raw materials for infra-structure and land for crops. Intensification of agriculture, driven by increasing demand for food and biofuels, have squeezed wildlife into marginal and fragmented habitats. The ecosystems and the services that these provide such as clean water and insects to pollinate our crops are therefore under pressure too. The requirements of and the demands that we place on our terrestrial environment are often conflicting and need to be balanced to maintain and enhance our quality of life.

To address these issues and plan for the future we need to know what we have on our land surface and where it is. LCM2007 provides this information.



Key improvements in LCM2007

LCM2007 has improved thematic and spatial accuracy over its predecessors. It builds upon the successes of the parcel-based mapping of LCM2000 and employs similar but enhanced classification techniques. The principal difference between LCM2007 and LCM2000 is the source of the land cover parcels which make up the spatial framework. LCM2007 parcels come from generalised digital cartography, refined with image segments.  LCM2000 uses only image segments. Deriving objects from digital cartography is advantageous. Cartographic boundaries accurately delineate real-world land cover objects (e.g. lakes, fields, settlements, industrial areas, semi-natural areas etc.). This improves the spatial accuracy of LCM2007 over LCM2000. The accurate delineation of real-world objects also helps to clarify the spectral properties of the land surface and therefore improves thematic accuracy too.

Further improvements to the thematic accuracy have also been achieved through the application of a sequence of so called “knowledge-based enhancements”. These KBEs refine the initial classification of some land parcels on the basis of ancillary information e.g. soil type, terrain and coastal proximity.



Previous CEH land cover maps, LCM1990 and LCM2000 have been successfully used by government departments and agencies throughout the UK, county councils, charities and commissions and also environmental management bodies. The improved thematic and spatial accuracy of LCM2007 increase its potential and, in conjunction with other data, LCM2007 will have many applications in, for example, the following areas:
• Atmosphere and climate
• Water and catchments
• Ecosystem service assessment
• Marine and coastal
• Ecology and conservation
• Impact assessment
• Health and hazards
• Agriculture
• Landscape planning
• Telecommunications
• Urban studies
• Statistics, information
• Education and publicity
• Carbon accounting


LCM2007 data products

LCM2007 and its predecessors (LCM1990 & LCM2000) are available in a range of data formats and spatial resolutions to suit different user requirements:

  • The most detailed LCM2007 data is supplied as a vector product with a minimum mappable unit of 0.5ha and a minimum feature width of 20m. Each polygon represents a parcel of land and has attributes describing land cover and metadata describing how this information was derived.
  • Five raster products simplify the LCM2007 information. A 25x25m product gives the most likely Broad Habitat for each polygon. Four freely available products summarise the 25x25m raster at the 1x1km level.

Please click here for further information on LCM2007 products.

Accessing LCM2007 data products

All LCM products can be obtained from CEH under licence for academic, non-commercial and commercial use. Some products are free of charge for non-commercial use via the CEH Information Gateway (CIG) and others can be obtained following the submission of an on-line request form. Web Mapping Services (WMS) are also provided to view selected LCM products via the CIG.


Please click here for information on how to access the LCM products.

Further information: