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.

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

Please see the information here on how to request our Land Cover Maps for various uses.

Further information

Please see the documentation linked below.