Metadata for Montana Landcover Framework (2010 - 2017) Metadata for Montana Landcover Framework (2010 - 2017)
Identification Information:
Originator: Montana Natural Heritage Program
Originator: Sanborn
Originator: University of Idaho
Publication date: 12/31/2017
Title: Montana Landcover Framework (2010 - 2017)
Edition: 2017
Publication place: Montana Geographic Information Clearinghouse
Publisher: Montana State Library
Other citation details:
Montana Natural Heritage Program (MTNHP). Montana Land Cover/Land Use Theme. Helena, Montana.
Online linkage:
Larger Work Citation:
Title: Montana Landcover Framework Map Service
Online linkage:{B24A26F3-0BAD-42FC-858A-426FD5DF1063}

The statewide land cover themes contained inside this geodatabase represent a baseline digital map of the natural and human land cover of Montana. The baseline map is adapted from the Northwest ReGAP project land cover classification, which used 30m resolution multi-spectral satellite imagery acquired between 1999 and 2001. Vegetation classes were drawn from the Ecological System Classification developed by NatureServe (Comer et al. 2003). The land cover classes were developed by Anderson et al. (1976). The NWGAP effort encompasses 12 map zones. Montana overlaps seven of these zones. The two NWGAP teams responsible for the initial land cover mapping effort in Montana were Sanborn and NWGAP (University of Idaho). Both Sanborn and NWGAP employed a similar modeling approach in which Classification and Regression Tree (CART) models were applied to Landsat ETM scenes. The Spatial Analysis Lab within the Montana Natural Heritage Program was responsible for developing a seamless Montana land cover map with a consistent statewide legend from these two separate products. Additionally, each Montana land cover layer incorporates several other land cover and land use products (e.g., MSDI Structures and Transportation themes and the Montana Department of Revenue Final Land Unit classification) and reclassifications based on plot-level data and the latest NAIP imagery to improve accuracy and enhance the usability of the theme. Additional updates to improve the accuracy have been conducted on an annual basis (such as including the latest fire perimeters). New MSDI Land Cover themes will be made available through the Montana Geographic Information Clearinghouse, hosted by Montana State Library (MSL) on an annual basis. This geodatabase contains versions 2010 through 2017.
This geodatabase contains eight consecutive years of Montana landcover rasters, which represent an update of the Gap Analysis Program's mapping and assessment of biodiversity for the five-state region encompassing Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. Specifically, the primary objective of the update was to identify biotic elements that are underrepresented on lands managed from their long term conservation. Additionally, the updated Montana land cover layers may be used for analyses at the regional, sub-regional, and landscape levels; they may also provide support for management disciplines, including timber, wildlife, fisheries, and recreation.

Time period of content:
Beginning date: 01/01/2002
Ending date: 12/31/2017
Currentness reference: ground condition
Progress: Complete
Maintenance and update frequency: Annually
Access constraints: None
Use constraints:
Use of these rasters is not recommended for fine-scale analyses (i.e. less than 1:100,000). It is important to note that the rasters contained inside this geodatabase do not constitute a true time series: even though some updates, such as agriculture or burned areas, have followed a regular schedule, others have resulted from the one-time availability of better data from localized mapping studies (e.g. Charles M Russell National Wildlife Refuge landcover map in 2015).
Point of contact:
Jessica Mitchell
Spatial Analysis Lab Director
Montana Natural Heritage Program
NS 313, University of Montana, 32 campus drive
Missoula, MT 59812

Telephone: (406) 243-5196

Point of contact:
Claudine Tobalske
Montana Natural Heritage Progran
NS 313, University of Montana, 32 campus drive
Missoula, MT 59812

Telephone: (406) 243-5196

Data set credit:
The Montana Landcover geodatabase and its contents are products of the Montana Natural Heritage Program.
Back to Top

Spatial Data Organization Information:
Raster object information:
Raster object type: Grid Cell
Row count: 24008
Column count: 33005
Vertical count: 1
Back to Top

Entity and Attribute Information:
Entity and attribute overview:
Definitions for landuse codes follow NLCD 2001 and National ReGAP. The ecological system definitions were originally developed by NatureServe and then modified by MTNHP to better match Montana vegetation.
Entity and attribute detail citation:
NLCD 2001:
NatureServe: Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, M. Pyne, M. Reid, K. Schulz, K. Snow, and J. Teague. 2003. Ecological Systems of the United States: A Working Classification of U.S. Terrestrial Systems. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia.
MTNHP: a link to detailed description of ecological systems in Montana can be found at Unless otherwise noted, definitions follow the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States: Volume I; (
Back to Top

Distribution Information:
Jessica J. Mitchell (MTNHP Spatial Analysis Lab)
Montana State Library
32 Campus Drive, Natural Sciences, Room 313, University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812

Telephone: 406-243-5196

Resource description: Downloadable data

Distribution liability: See access and use constraints information.
Back to Top

Metadata Reference Information:
Metadata date: 04/10/2020
Metadata contact:
Claudine Tobalske
Montana Natural Heritage Progran
NS 313, University of Montana, 32 campus drive
Missoula, MT 59812

Telephone: (406) 243-5196

Back to Top