Land Cover Map 2015

CEH is working on the production of Land Cover Map 2015 (LCM2015), due for completion later this year.

2015 marked 25 years of Land Cover Mapping in CEH. National-scale land cover mapping began in 1990 with LCM1990, continued with LCM2000 and then LCM2007. The series has recently been complemented by the CEH Land Cover® plus: Crop Map and will soon be joined by LCM2015.

CEH Land Cover Maps through the years

Mapping techniques

  • LCM2015 will map 22 land cover classes.
  • The classes will be the same as LCM2007, but excluding Rough Grassland.
  • A straightforward comparison of LCM2007 with LCM2015 will not accurately indicate change. Detecting change is complex; however, CEH’s new techniques have been designed with change detection in mind so we anticipate improvements in the future.
  • A new, quicker methodology* means that LCM2015 can be released faster than previous Land Cover Maps.

* LCM2007 used manually identified training areas and a maximum likelihood classification algorithm (see the LCM2007 Final Report for full details).  For LCM2015, training areas were selected automatically using patterns from historical land cover maps, followed by classification using a Random Forest classifier.

Technical details

  • It is called LCM2015 because it is based primarily on satellite data acquired during 2015.
  • LCM2015 will cover the whole of the UK.
  • LCM2015 will be available in vector format, as well as raster (25m and 1km) formats (like LCM2007).
  • LCM2015 will be based primarily on Landsat-8 data, so there is no difference in spatial resolution compared to LCM2007. 
  • Sentinel-2 data was not used because it only began routinely acquiring calibrated data at the end of 2015.

Obtaining LCM2015

  • Production of LCM2015 will finish towards the end of 2016. It is due for release in spring 2017.
  • LCM2015 will be available under licence via the CEH Data Licensing Team.
  • LCM2015 will be accessible via the CEH Environmental Information Platform.
  • It will be available for academic research, educational use, non-commercial use, commercial use, personal use, Value Added Reselling and innovation.
  • Price will be based on the use to which the data will be put (eg. academic research, commercial use), the data format and the area required.

Further information

  • For more information, please contact the CEH Data Licensing Team at
  • If you would like to receive announcements by email, please contact with ‘LCM2015 email list’ as the subject.



Science areas: