This image shows a section from the Southwest side of St. Thomas. Land cover data helps resource managers better understand the cumulative effects of development, including impacts of land cover on water quality and indicators that link land cover change with ecosystem health. This information may also be used to develop improved models that simulate or predict land use change and the resulting impacts.
The Coastal Change Analysis Program of NOAA's Coastal Services Center recently released high-resolution impervious surface data and 2002-era land cover data for St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The completion of these data sets marks the first nationally consistent land cover products developed from high-resolution satellite imagery for the Caribbean Islands region.
These data were developed in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
State and local planners can use these data sets to monitor growth and evaluate how development impacts water resources.
Land cover data can also be used to monitor landscape changes over time, evaluate management regulations, and guide future decisions. Land cover inventories also help conservation planners assess human impacts on coral reefs.
NOAA is currently working to complete a 2007 land cover update for these islands. This work is expected to be complete in the summer of 2010.
The goal of NOAA's Coastal Change Analysis Program is to improve scientific understanding of the linkages between coastal wetland habitats, adjacent uplands, and living marine resources.