Landcover science

We undertake scientific processes and analysis to understand, monitor and model a range of landcover based information across NSW.

What is landcover?

Landcover is the physical material at the surface of the earth. This can include trees, grass, buildings, water and bare ground.

Land cover mapping image

Why study landcover?

The State Government is committed to a thriving, sustainable and resilient NSW. To help achieve this, we need to understand what is happening on the Earth’s surface to make effective decisions about landuse management and supporting legislation and regulatory functions.

Our science contributes to and delivers landcover data collections which measure, monitor and compare the type, extent and condition of vegetation and landuse across NSW. This information supports the identification of impacts on resources, biodiversity values and individual ecosystems for state-wide environmental reporting.

Our landcover data collections and imagery are accessible through a range of applications and contribute to legislative, environmental and land management decision making. Examples of imagery used include aerial (historical film and digital), and satellite (Landsat, SPOT, Sentinel, Planet) sources.

Data collections

A broad range of data collections is available. Collections include:

To discover and access additional resources visit SEED, the NSW Government's Environmental Data Portal.

NSW BioNet

NSW BioNet is the repository for biodiversity data products managed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. 

BioNet aims to improve biodiversity outcomes by enabling the community and government to proactively manage and enhance environmental assets in NSW through comprehensive, credible and robust information.

NSW Koala Habitat Information Base

The statewide Koala Habitat Information Base has been developed as part of the NSW Koala Strategy. It delivers the best available state-wide spatial data on koala habitat, likelihood, koala preferred trees and koala sightings for NSW.

It will be an important resource and will help government agencies, local councils and private land holders make informed koala conservation decisions.

The information base will help prioritise the establishment of new koala reserves and private land conservation agreements to protect koala habitat. It will help ensure local actions are based on the best available information and improve the management of threats and disease.

Landcover monitoring and reporting

The NSW State Government has monitored and reported on landcover change since 2008. Up until 2017 landcover change focused primarily on woody vegetation with data captured from 1988. The native vegetation legislation reforms have resulted in the implementation of monitoring and reporting of both woody and non woody vegetation change on land regulated under the Local Land Services Act 2013 from 25 August 2017.  

Monitoring and reporting on landcover change provides the foundational and necessary scientific basis for measuring environmental, social and economic impacts to the natural resources and biodiversity of NSW.

For more information about how we monitor and report on landcover change visit Landcover monitoring and reporting.

Key partners

  • JRSRP: a collaborative program that combines remote sensing experts from Queensland, NSW and Victorian government agencies and universities. This program aims to increase Australia’s capacity to conduct pure and applied remote sensing research to implement and assess effective environmental management policies at local, state and national scales. JRSP Research underpins many of the state government's operational programs 
  • Copernicus: aims to provide strategic, social, economic and environmental benefits to public authorities and society, meeting specific imagery needs of users and making access to data and information easier. Sentinel satellite imagery is used in landcover mapping and monitoring.
  • Planet: NSW Government has invested in Planet daily satellite imagery. This equips organisations with the data necessary to make informed and timely decisions.
    Planet imagery and portal provides the opportunity to monitor areas of interest, validate information on the ground, and discover trends relevant to the environment.

More information

For more information about our products and services contact the data broker.