GSDA:Obtaining Land Use Data from the USGS

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The 'USGS Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) data files include information about vegetation, water, and surface features. Some states are done at 1:250,000 scale whereas others are done at 1:100,000. Each land use polygon has a classification code assigned to it which represents its land use (i.e., classification code 21 is "cropland and pasture").

Click on the link to the USGS Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) web site at If you have trouble with this link, follow the bulletted steps below. Select "LULC" from the top menu. You can select which land use data you need by clicking on a US map or by selecting the state and region from a list.

  • Go to on the internet.
  • Click on the Mapping button near the top.
  • Click on the US GeoData link under the "Download Data from USGS" heading.

Click on the LULC button near the top-right of the screen.

  1. Click on the 250K FTP via Graphics link to get land use data from a map,
    There are several ways to get land use data from the USGS; you can get the data by clicking on a US map, or by clicking on a list of states.
  2. Click near the location of interest on the map. For example, click on the state of Utah just underneath the Great Salt Lake.
  3. Click on the quadrangle that contains Provo, Utah -- the name of the quad is listed on the map as SALT LAKE CITY, UT.
  4. Click on the SALT LAKE CITY, UT link to begin downloading the data.
  5. Click on the link for "land use.gz".
  6. Proceed to download and save the file onto your computer (e.g., the hard drive). Steps may be slightly different depending on which web browser you're using.
  7. Uncompress the file - in this case the file is in ".gz" format, but you can use WinZip to uncompress it. Help Decompressing Files