The first digital Land Cover Map for Great Britain (LCMGB) was produced in the early 1990s. In 2020 a new Land Cover Map for 1990 (LCM1990) was released.

The updated LCM1990 applied the methods developed for LCM2015 to satellite data from 1990. It also used the same Broad Habitat-based classes used for LCM 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and uses the spatial framework used for the LCMs from 2007 onwards; it also mapped Northern Ireland. This makes the LCM1990 consistent with LCM2015 onwards, and enabled the production of the first UK Land Cover Change data set, from the LCM series.

All the LCM data sets are available from UKCEH’s Environmental Informatics Data Centre.

LCM1990 was produced using random forest classification of Landsat Thematic Mapper data. The map, based on a 25m grid, records 21 cover types, consisting of sea and inland water, beaches and bare ground, developed and arable land, and 18 types of semi-natural vegetation.

Main uses

LCM1990 data has been used by licensees in pursuit of academic, policy-related and commercial interests in the following fields:

  • Atmosphere and climate
  • Water and catchments
  • Marine and coastal
  • Ecology and conservation
  • Impact assessment
  • Health and hazards
  • Agriculture
  • Landscape planning
  • Urban studies
  • Statistics, information and maps
  • Education and publicity

Land Cover Map 1990: Technical details

LCM1990 is available in raster and vector formats, with 25m and 1km raster versions.

6 images showing comparison of spatial detail in LCM formats
Comparison of the level of spatial detail in the vector data set, 25m raster data set and 1km dominant cover raster data set for an area ~ 35km x 35km (top images) and ~ 6km x 6km (lower images). (LCM2015 is used for illustrative purposes). © UKCEH 2017. © Crown Copyright 2007. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100017572.

Obtaining Land Cover Map 1990

  • Request Land Cover Map 1990 from our Data Licensing Team using the form below or visit the CEH Environmental Information Platform for links to the LCM1990 dataset and other LCM data sets.
  • For Academic Research/Education only, all UKCEH's Land Cover Map data sets are available for free via EDINA, specifically the Environment section.

Further information

Please see the documentation linked below.