Land cover and land use are often used as interchangeable terms, but each designates a specific type of information. Land cover designates the vegetation or other type of cover that is on the land (grass, red oak, concrete). Land use designates the human-derived applications and activities that take place on the land (agriculture, commercial, residential). There are a variety of state and national products available that map the past and present land cover and/or land use of an area.
The current Wisconsin statewide land cover map (“Wiscland 2”) was updated and published in September 2016.
Local governments are the main producers of land use maps in Wisconsin. Local governments rarely produce land cover maps. Refer to the Web site of the county, city, or municipality you are interested in to learn what data is available and how to request it. Some additional resources may be available at:
Several national land cover and land use maps are produced on a regular basis. Review the classification schemes, update frequency, and age of the products to decided which one best meets your needs.
If you are having trouble locating land use and land cover data in Wisconsin or need further help, please contact us via e-Mail or at (608) 262-3065.
Last updated: January 29, 2021