C-CAP Land Cover Atlas

Posted on: 7/28/2017 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

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C-CAP Land Cover Atlas is an online data viewer that allows users to observe changes in regional land cover over a selected range of time between 1996 and 2011. The Atlas summarizes general trends (e.g., changes in forest cover, change in developed land), and lets users focus on specific changes they are interested in (e.g., changes in estuarine areas and marshlands). Users can also create summary reports and data tables that can be used to aid decision-making processes. The Atlas makes land cover data accessible to a variety of users by providing an online viewing platform that does not require the use of GIS or other software. The data and information used in the Land Cover Atlas are developed through NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP), which compiles standardized inventories of data derived from analysis of data from remotely sensed imagery related to changes in coastal intertidal areas, wetlands, and adjacent upland areas for the coastal United States.

Example in use: The C-CAP Land Cover Atlas has been applied in a variety of coastal states and regions, such as the Pacific Islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Delaware River Basin. (For more information on where C-CAP Land Cover Atlas has been applied, see http://coast.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/tools/lca.) For instance, in the Gulf of Mexico, the Ocean Conservancy used data from C-CAP Land Atlas Cover in the creation of a region-wide coastal and marine atlas (The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem: A Coastal and Marine Atlas), which contains multiple maps of various topics (e.g., oceanographic features, invertebrate and fish distribution, human uses) and can be used as a tool to help decision-makers plan restoration and management activities. In the Pacific Islands, NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center used data from the Land Atlas Cover to analyze changes in the amount of impervious surface, cultivated land, and pasture land throughout the Pacific Islands. This information was analyzed to see how changes in land cover were affecting runoff, informing planning efforts for a “ridge-to-reef” approach for watershed management.

Phase of Adaptation: Awareness, Assessment, Planning, Monitoring, Sharing


Land managers, natural resource managers, local authorities, planners, engineers, scientists, community members

Managing Organizations

This organization was established in 2014 when NOAA combined two offices: the Coastal Services Center and the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. The basic missions of the two programs remain intact, but the new organizational structure is bringing value-added services to taxpayers.