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Our maps and data

Environment Digimap provides access to Land Cover data and other data from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Dudley Stamp’s maps of the 1930’s Land Utilisation Survey of Britain can also be viewed in Environment Roam.

Land Cover Maps

The Land Cover Maps are digital raster datasets, derived from satellite data collected by the Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper, and provide classification of land cover types at a 25m resolution for the years of 1990, 2000, 2007 and 2015. Classifications include sea and inland waters, bare, suburban and urban areas, arable farmland, pastures and meadows, rough grass, grass heaths and moors, bracken, dwarf shrub heaths and moorland, scrub, deciduous and evergreen woodland and upland and lowland bogs. Later years offer 25m and 20m raster versions as well as vector datasets.

The Land Cover data can be used to plan, manage or monitor agriculture, ecology, conservation, forestry, environmental assessment, water supplies, urban spread, transport, telecommunications, recreation and mineral extraction. It is particularly useful when combined with other datasets. Use the land cover data to examine the coincidence of a given species with particular land cover types, make assessments of habitats at risk from a specific development, or look at national distributions of land cover types and how it is affected by other environmental and human factors.

Current examples of the application of the Land Cover Map include detection of changing land cover, landscape management, mapping bracken in the context of health studies (bracken supports ticks carrying human disease), environmental assessments of motorway extensions, and planning of telecommunication lines.

Land Cover Plus

Crops

UKCEH Land Cover® plus: Crop maps were the first detailed, interactive, digital maps of cropping in Great Britain. THe maps use satellite data; Copernicus Sentinel-1 C-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and, from 2016 onwards, Sentinel-2 optical data. Two million land parcels are categorised within the Land Cover Map spatial framework, providing information on annual crop types for every field in Great Britain.

UKCEH Land Cover® plus: Crop maps are available for 2015 (partial GB coverage), 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The crops from 2016 onwards are winter wheat (including oats), spring wheat, winter barley, spring barley, oilseed rape, field beans, potatoes, sugar beet, maize, and improved grass. Other cereals, root crops, early potatoes, and vegetables are grouped in a class called ‘other’, together with a small number of parcels which could not be classified. From 2020, solar fields (sites with solar panels at ground level) are also included.

Fertiliser

CEH Land Cover® plus Fertilisers combines information on crop patterns from CEH Land Cover® plus: Crop with national survey data on pesticide and fertiliser use. maps estimate average, total, annual, application of manufactured Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium for the whole of England and England, Wales and Scotland respectively, between 2010-2015.

This dataset has been developed to aid UKCEH research into the environmental impacts of agriculture and to help develop sustainable farming solutions.

Pesticides

CEH Land Cover® plus Pesticides combines CEH Land Cover® plus: Crop maps with Pesticide Utilisation Survey data for 2012-2017 to map average, annual pesticide applications across England, Wales and Scotland at a 1km resolution for 162 active ingredients. This dataset has been developed to aid UKCEH research into the environmental impacts of agriculture and to help develop sustainable farming solutions.

Digital River Network

The CEH 1:50,000 Digital River Network, historically referred to as the Watercourses Network, was derived from Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 maps and was the first continuous digital river network to be produced for Great Britain. There are no breaks in line work where rivers are crossed by bridges or pass through tunnels and this is a major advantage if the dataset is to be used for modelling.

The dataset has been used to define flow paths in CEH’s Integrated Hydrological Digital Terrain Model (IHDTM), which in turn is used to define drainage paths in the FEH (Flood Estimation Handbook) Web Service. Its hydrological consistency is important for modelling purposes, avoiding issues which can occur where river network datasets have been created independently of a complimentary digital terrain model e.g. rivers are shown to flow up hills or otherwise against DTM flow directions.

The network has been used to define flow paths in CEH’s Integrated Hydrological Digital Terrain Model (IHDTM), which in turn is used to define drainage paths in the Flood Estimation Handbook CD-ROM.

Integrated Hydrologiocal DTM

This is a 50m grid interval digital terrain model (DTM) derived from 1:50,000 scale mapping from Ordnance Survey and Land & Property Services (previously OSNI). The IHDTM is comprised of five separate gridded datasets: Elevation (height), Outflow and Inflow drainage directions, Cumulative Catchment Area and Surface Type. Each IHDTM grid is hydrologically consistent with the other IHDTM grids and with the CEH 1:50,000 Watercourse Network dataset (Digital River Network).

Woody Linear Features Framework

The Woody Linear Features Framework describes the location and lengths of hedge boundaries and lines of trees (woody linear features). The dataset was derived from existing national datasets and created by a predictive model, which was developed at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in 2016. This unique dataset shows hedges/lines of trees across the whole of Great Britain on all land, not just agricultural. These features are Priority Habitats in their own right and are extremely valuable, particularly in intensively managed landscapes.

Dudley Stamp

These maps of land use from the 1930s come from the Land-Utilisation Survey of Great Britain, carried out under the leadership of Professor L. Dudley Stamp during the 1930s. This was the first time that anyone in Britain had tried to determine how all the land in Britain was being used. The work was carried out largely by volunteers including schoolchildren who shaded maps of the fields in their surrounding area and people at universities who were responsible for collating these into a series of national land use maps.

The Environment Agency undertook to digitise a full set of the 170 published Land Use maps of Great Britain. This work was sub-contracted to the Great Britain Historical GIS team, based at the University of Portsmouth. Because the source paper maps existed in a variety of conditions and there was variation in the editions of the maps available, these sheets have been sourced from multiple different libraries and organisations. The scanning process yielded a seamless geo-referenced coverage of the maps.