Land Use / Land Cover

Data and Documentation

MSDI Montana Land Cover Land Use Data

Land Cover Land Use data is provided for the entire state of Montana in two different data formats: a file geodatabase (version 9.3 and 10.1) and a map service. Metadata is provided for both versions in XML format.  Data are projected to the Montana State Plane Coordinate System.

Land Cover Land Use Database Documentation

For more information on the Land Cover Land Use categories used in the data, see the Montana Field Guide  ( and the Ecological Systems Field Guide Help (


Land Cover Land Use Framework Web Service

This application provides access to the Montana Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) Land Cover Land Use dataset. This service displays the MSDI Framework Land Cover as compiled by the Montana Natural Heritage Program. This is the 2013 version, which has been modified substantially since 2010, especially with regards to human land uses and fire extent. There are three levels of grouping that can be displayed at ANY scale. Beyond 1:2,000,000 scale, the default grouping is Level 1, with 8 broad categories. From 1:2,000,000 to 1:250,000, the default is Level 2, with 27 categories. Beyond 1:250,000, each Land Cover value has its own unique value, and corresponds to Level 3 ecological systems.


The Land Cover Framework is a baseline digital raster map of Montana natural and human land cover. The Framework uses ecological systems and human land uses as its mapping units. Ecological systems occur in similar physical environments, and are influenced by similar events such as flooding, fire, wind, and snowfall. They can be classified from aerial or satellite imagery, and are easily identifiable in the field. Primary users of this theme include land and wildlife management agencies, county and local planners, academic and agency researchers, and recreationists. Because pixel size for the data is 30m, the data are best used at a 1:100,000 scale or greater.

    Land Use Land Cover Framework Contact Information

    Land Use Land Cover Theme Lead

    Linda Vance
    Montana Natural Heritage Program
    Senior Ecologist
    Phone: 406-444-3380

    Land Use Land Cover Theme Steward

    Montana Natural Heritage Program
    1515 East Sixth Ave.
    Helena, MT 59620-1800
    Phone: 406-444-5354
    Fax: 406-444-0266
    TTY/TDD: 406-444-4799