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Wiscland 2.0

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are partnering on a project to map the current vegetation, water, and urban patterns (“land cover”) of Wisconsin. The resulting digital database will replace a statewide land cover map, known as Wiscland, created by DNR using 1991-1993 data. Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. One of the main drivers behind the land cover mapping project is DNR’s desire to improve whitetail deer habitat monitoring. The need for an improved statewide land cover database was specifically cited in a 2012 report by Deer Trustee Dr. James Kroll. Learn more...

A current land cover dataset is a critical element in research and establishing scientifically based management plans. Similarly, using the new land cover dataset with earlier land cover products will continue to further our understanding of land cover over time. As has been done with the first version of Wiscland, resource managers will be able to use the completed Wiscland 2.0 products to create better estimates of forest extent, composition, and wildlife habitat.

For more information about the Wiscland 2.0 project, please visit SCO Project: Statewide Land Cover.

DNR Field Data Collection

The Wiscland 2.0 project will include a coordinated field collection effort combining Department of Natural Resources staff assistance and a DNR summer field collection crew. Work will be conducted from March to September 2015 with staff visiting field locations and collecting land cover type information.

Wiscland 1.0

Version 1 of the Wisconsin Land Cover database was completed in 1998, the result of a partnership of public and private organizations seeking to facilitate landscape GIS data development and analysis, known as "Wiscland", the Wisconsin Initiative for Statewide Cooperation on Landscape Analysis and Data. Formed in 1993, the Wiscland consortium was instrumental in the funding and implementation of a five-year work effort to interpret the state's land cover from satellite images. Wiscland has been inactive since the late 1990s. For more information about Wiscland, see Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office [exit DNR]

Wiscland 1.0 data overview

The Wiscland land cover data are derived primarily from 1992 satellite imagery. After processing, the data have a minimum mapping unit of five acres, meaning that most land cover features five acres or larger can be resolved in the data. The classified land cover types can be summarized to indicate how much of each land cover is present over large areas of interest, such as counties or watersheds. More sophisticated analyses, such as assessing proximity or delineating land cover corridors, are possible with the appropriate application software.

The land cover data have been used by the DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management to estimate available range for deer in each deer management unit, as well as for estimation of elk range in Wisconsin. Other potential uses of the land cover data include watershed characterization to evaluate fisheries quality or support runoff estimation for flood analysis.

Information about the Upper Midwest Gap Analysis Program, including the "Upper Midwest Gap Analysis Program Image Processing Protocol," June 1998 [exit DNR], used in preparing the Wiscland Land Cover data, are accessible via the USGS Environmental Management Technical Center (EMTC) [exit DNR].

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Metadata for Wiscland 1.0

Data theme Available data layers Feature classes Size (MB)
WLC grid WLC grid Grid 77
WLC image(Level two) WLC image TIF 50

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Sample land cover map

sample landcover map

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Download Wiscland 1.0 data & documentation

The following links are files on the DNR public FTP site. To restore the land cover data (full data model in ArcInfo Grid format), extract the zipfile ( using WinZip [exit DNR]. Decompression of the zipfile will result in an ArcInfo Grid directory named "wlcgw930", and an accompanying "info" directory. Together these directories are just over 75 megabytes, uncompressed. Do NOT decompress the zipfile at a location where an info directory already exists, or information may be lost.

Filename Size (kilobytes) Date Modified Description of File Contents
WILNDCOV.DOC 5,458 12-09-99 User's Guide to Wiscland Land Cover data. MS Word 7.0
Download & Read First
WLC_META.TXT 19 12-09-99 Metadata compliant with the FGDC's "Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata". ASCII
WLC_GRID.ZIP 44,609 07-03-02 Wiscland Land Cover data, in ArcInfo Grid format, compressed using WinZip. (ZIP file)
WLCIW930.TIF 69,055 09-07-00 Wiscland Land Cover map (level 2 classification), in TIF format.
WLCIW930.TFW 1 09-07-00 Geo-referencing file to accompany WLCIW930, in TIF World (.TFW) format
WLACCUR.XLS 429 1-20-99 Accuracy Assessment Compilation for Wiscland Land Cover data. MS Excel 7.0
SCCU 301 01-05-99 Spectrally Consistent Classification Units (SCCUs), in ArcView shapefile format (three files)
Last revised: Tuesday May 19 2015