2015 marked 25 years of Land Cover Mapping in UKCEH. National-scale land cover mapping began in 1990 with LCM1990, continued with LCM2000, LCM2007 and LCM2015, and in turn were updated by LCM2017, LCM2018 and LCM2019. The series was complemented by CEH Land Cover® plus: Crop Map.

LCM2015 is derived from satellite images and digital cartography and provides land cover information for the entire UK. Land cover is based on UK Biodiversity Action Plan Broad Habitats classes. It is used by government departments and agencies, county councils, charities and commissions, as well as environmental management bodies, consultancies and researchers. It has wide application in many sectors and is available in different formats to suit the requirements of users.

LCM2015 data products

LCM2015 comes in a range of data formats and at a range of thematic and spatial resolutions to support the diverse range of applications. The 'core' product is the LCM2015 vector from which the 25m raster is derived. The 25m raster is then used to produce the 1km products.


Difference in the various Land Cover Map 2015 products

Comparison of the level of spatial detail in the vector product, 25m raster product and 1km dominant cover raster product for an area ~ 35km x 35km (top images) and ~ 6km x 6km (lower images). © UKCEH 2017. © Crown Copyright 2007. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100017572.

Vector Data

The most detailed product is the vector, where each polygon represents a parcel of land and has attributes describing land cover and metadata describing how this information was derived.

  • Scale: Minimum Mappable Unit for land cover parcels: 0.5ha.
  • Supply Format: ESRI® Shapefile format.

Raster data

A 25x25m raster gives the most likely Broad Habitat for each pixel. Four freely available 1x1km raster products summarise the 25x25m raster.

  • Scale: 25m and 1km pixel size
  • Supply Format: GeoTiff format

Obtaining LCM2015

Land Cover Map 2015 with legend



  • Please see the information here on how to request our Land Cover Maps for various uses.
  • The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and UKCEH have signed a licence, which gives the Defra family of agencies and public bodies* access to Land Cover Map 2015 vector and 25m raster data for Great Britain at no additional cost to that agency/public body. If you work for one of these, or if your project is funded by one of them, please contact the UKCEH Data Licensing team. *Scroll to Defra in the list and click view all.

Technical details and mapping techniques

  • It is called LCM2015 because it is based primarily on satellite data acquired during 2015. It was released in April 2017.
  • LCM2015 covers the whole of the UK.
  • LCM2015 maps 21 land cover classes. The classes are the same as LCM2007, but without Rough Grassland and Montane.
  • LCM2015 uses the same spatial framework as LCM2007 and the CEH Land Cover® plus: Crop Map. But for 2015 no segmentation has been incorporated into the spatial framework, unlike LCM2007.
  • LCM2015 is based primarily on Landsat-8 data, so there is no difference in spatial resolution compared to LCM2007. 
  • Sentinel-2 data were not used because it only began routinely acquiring calibrated data at the end of 2015.

Further information

View a short video showing LCM2015 in 3D: